“Two Lovers” stars Joaquin Phoenix(Leonard),Gwyneth Paltrow(Michelle) and Vinessa Shaw(Sandra), it is rumored that this is the last film of Joaquin Phoenix.The news of Joaquin Phoenix retirement from acting has prompted me to watch “Two Lovers”
The film starts with a dramatic scene in which Joaquin Phoenix(Leonard) attempts suicide by jumping into a bay but he is saved by few men and is in no conscious mood to thank the guy who saved his life.
In Dev.D and in many other films we have seen that a man embraces self-destruction when he loses his loved ones.In “Two Lovers” we see the make and break of relationships with a realistic tone attached to it with infatuation,desperation etc.. as its attributes.The kind of self-destruction which i find in the characters is so natural that we don’t call it as self destruction in real life.
Leonard is a person who is emotionally ill as her fiancee leaves him because of the genetic tests results indicate that they cant have healthy children.Leonard is attracted towards a neighbor Michelle,he follows her to get her attention,he dances with her,he spends time with her,he talks to her from his window and also feels that he loves her.The feelings of Leonard are very much obvious and it is very likely that any person who is under desperation and frustration of a broken relationship will act in the same way.When Sandra sees a scar on Leonard’s hand she says that “I wanna take care of you,i kinda understand you,you are different,you don’t pretend something you are not”. Sandra has a lot of love for Leonard which he acknowledges but his infatuation towards Michelle is his priority.Leonard buys a ring for Michelle but eventually he gives it to Sandra
Leonard does not tell about the conversation which he had with Michelle’s boy friend to make Michelle love him,but instead he depends on himself to make her satisfy that he really loves her and also says that “this is not stupid f**king crush,do you think i don’t know love?”.When Michelle and Leonard decide to leave the town he buys two tickets and a ring for her with the money he has.
Leonard and Michelle,the two lovers are very much inclined towards self destruction, Michelle has a boy friend who is married and has children and she still wants to be with him,Leonard prefers Michelle over Sandra even after knowing that Michelle has a boy friend and about the miscarriage of Michelle.Michelle and Sandra share intimacy with Leonard but the difference between them is quite visible to us.Michelle ditches Leonard and she explains the reason “I am not going.He left his family for me…and we are getting married”.
After the rejection by Michelle,Leonard thinks of suicide and goes near the bay where he throws the ring box and therehe recognizes the gloves given by Sandra and he walks back to his apartment and gives the ring to Sandra.If you observe keenly the first scene of the film where Leonard attempts suicide he sees a light when he is in the water and prompts him to come above the water and after that he meets his real love Sandra and even in the end when he thinks of suicide he is saved by the gloves which are given by his true love Sandra.
James Gray who is the director and the co-writer of the film makes a film which reminds us of the old days where romantic drama films revolved around relationships.”Two Lovers” is not a masterpiece by James Gray but definitely a very good film which explores the relationships of true love.
Originally published on Passionforcinema.com