Friday, July 17, 2009

Two Lovers

My wife and I rented the movie Two Lovers on our vacation even though we'd never heard of it before. Normally when we do that, we pick losers. Not this time; I give this one a thumbs up. We like the two main stars, Joaquin Phoenix (despite his ridiculous showing on Letterman a while back) and Gwyneth Paltrow, and they are excellent here. Keep in mind it's rated R for language and "some sexuality," although my wife and I thought it was way milder than most R-rated films.

It's the story of a Jewish guy named Leonard (Phoenix) who suffers from a psychological disorder of some kind (bipolar? borderline?) as well as heartache from a past rejection. His passion is now divided between a woman who really loves him but who is pushed into his life by his parents, and a woman (Paltrow) whom he really loves but who is psychologically unstable and terribly needy herself.

Two Lovers is a study in how fathers abuse their children (and what that does to them), how manipulative men use needy women, and to what extent we will go to find someone who really values and celebrates us. Leonard loses piece after piece of his heart until he wonders if he has anything left. The love he gains, while not everything he'd hoped for, is enough to give him a foothold in a fallen world. There are spiritual and social lessons aplenty in this dark but ultimately affirming movie.


Randy Greenwald said...

Funny, Mike. Friday afternoon on my trip to Blockbuster, I held this film in my hand, but had not read anything about it, and could only remember the strangeness of Phoenix, and decided to put it back on the shelf. I should have gone with my gut!

Mike said...

Rotten Tomatoes gave it a whopping 85% approval, which is pretty rare.