Monday, March 9, 2009

Love is as Love does

I haven't liked a movie more than Two Lovers in a long time. See it. It's like a foreign movie in many ways: subtle, beautifully shot, surprising, and in the end, nourishing.

Joaquin Phoenix is mesmerizing as Lenny, a guy too old to live with is parents, but too depressed to be trusted alone. He works in the family dry-cleaning business in Brooklyn, but not the cool part of Brooklyn. His mother is Isabella Rossellini. She's a Jewish mother, but one of the nice things about this movie is that no one is a stereotype.

The story is quite simple. Lenny's parents are trying to set him up with the daughter of a their new business partner. She's lovely and lovable, a completely round character, surprisingly, and he is in fact smitten with her. But he becomes obsessed with his neighbor Michelle, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, who I think he sees as someone even slightly more fucked up than himself.

That's it really. He loves two girls in entirely different ways. He makes a hard choice, between these two and in the end he makes a bargain with love to save his own life.

I couldn't stop thinking about this movie, and what it said about lonliness, obsession, about familial love and expectations, and about filmmaking. The plot is so, so simple, that the success of the film can only be credited to the director, writer, casting agent, production designer, cinematographer. These elements are ochestrated finely, and the result is like a Kronos Quartet version of a complex little sonata.


Jeff Osteen said...

I'll add it to my list.....

Anonymous said...

Me too! Robin