Movie Review: Two Lovers

Two Lovers
Directed by James Gray
Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Gwyneth Paltrow, Vinessa Shaw, Isabella Rossellini
Rated R
Release date: February 13th, 2009 (limited)

Two Lovers is a portrait of a sheltered soul on the verge of carrying out another attempt at suicide. The movie opens with him trying to commit suicide by jumping off the boardwalk into the ocean. He’s a man that can’t find enough motivation to uproot himself from a considerate mother and father so he can bestow himself to a world that would love nothing more than to see him happy in it. This man is capable of doing well, but has the tendency of making the wrong decisions. We see his well-being flourish when he works willingly at his parents’ dry cleaning business. We see it when he takes pictures with his camera. We see it when he expresses to others what’s truly inside himself. When two women, both of whom couldn’t be any more opposite of each other, enter his life, a new outlook is created. The man rarely wears a smile, but when he does he can illuminate an entire room.

The man’s name is Leonard. He’s played by Joaquin Phoenix in what is a complicated role consisting of shifting emotions from shy to bashful, to anger, to happiness. That Phoenix pulls this performance off believably is reason to celebrate (given his recent identity crisis this can well be his last film).

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