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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Two Lovers DVD Review

Two Lovers - An Alliance Films’ Release

On DVD: July 14th, 2009

Rated 14A for sexual content, coarse language, and nudity.

Running time: 109 minutes

James Gray (dir.)

James Gray & Richard Menello (screenplay)

Joaquin Phoenix as Leonard Kraditor

Gwyneth Paltrow as Michelle Rausch

Vinessa Shaw as Sandra Cohen

Moni Moshonov as Reuben Kraditor

Isabella Rossellini as Ruth Kraditor

Special Features: Director’s Commentary, Behind the Scenes, Deleted Scenes, Outtakes, A look at Two Lovers, Photo Gallery.

(L-r) Elias Koteas, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Joaquin Phoenix star in TWO LOVERS, and Alliance Films’ release.

© 2009 2929 Productions LLC. All Rights Reserved. Distributed exclusively in Canada by Alliance Films. All Rights Reserved.

Our reviews below:


Two Lovers DVD Review By John C.


James Grey’s Two Lovers is a fascinating study of relationships and the decisions we make while trying to do the right thing. Leonard (Joaquin Phoenix) is in his mid-30’s and currently single. His parents try to set him up with their family friend’s daughter, Sandra (Vinessa Shaw). Than he meets his neighbour Michelle (Gwyneth Paltrow). He develops feelings for both of them, but he will have to make a decision about which one he wants to stay with. The story follows an interesting curve, it has twists and doesn’t just follow a conventional path.

Most brilliant about Joaquin Phoenix’s performance is how he perfectly embodies the character. Little mannerisms and actions are added perfectly to create a fully believable character.

The DVD includes commentary with director James Grey, An HDNet Look at Two Lovers, deleted scenes, behind the scenes featurettes and a photo gallery.


Two Lovers DVD Review By Erin V.

***1/2 (out of 4)

Two Lovers tells the very believable story of Leonard, (Joaquin Phoenix), a man, who after a relationship that didn’t work out in the past, is left feeling depressed. He lives with his parents in an apartment, and works at the family drycleaning business. When a friend of the family wants to buy out their business, Leonard’s family wants him to get to know their daughter, Sandra, (Venessa Shaw), better. Leonard likes Sandra, but then in the hallway of his apartment building he meets Michelle, (Gwyneth Paltrow), a woman who has moved into the apartment across from his.

Michelle is quite needy, and Leonard feels compelled to continue helping her once he gets caught up in her problems. On the other hand, he still likes Sandra. Both woman are so different - practically polar opposites - that depending on Leonard’s mood, he gravitates towards one, or the other.

This movie is very believable, and the slow pace allows for everything to naturally unfold. Joaquin Phoenix’s performance in particular is really accurate to the character he plays. Two Lovers is a very well made human-drama that is definitely worth buying.


Two Lovers DVD Review By Nicole

*** (out of 4)

Two Lovers is a low key drama about a man who gets caught up in a difficult dilemma. Leonard, who has bipolar disorder, lives with his parents. Leonard is lonely, so his family who is very close knit, sets him up with Sandra, a long time family friend. Leonard and Sandra like each other. But things get complicated when a new neighbour, Michelle movies in the apartment across his own. Michelle is troubled. She parties hard, is emotionally fragile, and is already in another relationship. Leonard an Michelle like each other. Leonard does not want to upset Michelle or Sandra, so he goes out with both of them. Who will Leonard choose?

Two Lovers is a well made film. The acting is believable, and the story is well written. The film is shot in grayish tones, which fits the somewhat slow and slightly sombre mood of the story. While this film doesn’t sugar coat, it never becomes depressing. In the end, things work out the way they are meant to work out.

The extras on the DVD include a commentary with director James Gray, deleted scenes, a behind the scenes featurette, a photo gallery, and HDNet: A look at Two Lovers.

This movie is very interesting, and is worth owning on DVD.


Two Lovers DVD Review By Maureen

*** (out of 4)

Two Lovers is a sensitive drama about an emotionally overwhelmed man, Leonard (Joaquin Phoenix), who is faced with the difficult decision of choosing between two very different woman.

The first woman he meets is Sandra (Vinessa Shaw), the daughter of the businessman who is buying Leonard’s family’s drycleaning business. It is a obvious that this is the match Leonard’s family prefers. At the same time that Leonard is getting close to Sandra he meets his extremely needy neighbor, Michelle (Gwyneth Paltrow). Leonard is attracted to Michelle and finds it hard to say no to Michelle’s need for emotional support. Leonard also has to deal with his own emotional instability and the remnants of a recent heartbreak.

What makes this movie so watchable is the superb acting. Joaquin Phoenix gives an extremely believable and emotional performance as the troubled Leonard. Gwyneth Paltrow is also really nice to watch as Michelle.

In the end the story unfolds in a way that is somewhat predictable but satisfying. Fans of the lead actors won’t want to miss this one. The DVD extras include a commentary with Director James Gray, behind the scenes, deleted scenes, Hdnet - A Look at Two Lovers and a photo gallery. Whether you buy it or rent it “Two Lovers’ is worth checking out for Joaquin Phoenix’ performance.


Two Lovers DVD Review By Tony

***1/2 (out of 4)

Two Lovers refers to the two women, Michelle (Gwyneth Paltrow) and Sandra (Vinessa Shaw) in the life of Leonard (Joaquin Phoenix), who lives with his parents (Moni Moshonov & Isabella Rossellini) in Brooklyn NY. The film opens with an aborted suicide attempt by Leonard, whom we find out is bipolar after having had to break up with a fiancée on account of the “numbers”1. He meets Sandra when she comes with her parents to visit, as her father (Bob Ari) has offered to buy out his father’s dry cleaning business. About the same time Leonard runs into Michelle, who is being kept in a neighboring apartment as the mistress of one of the lawyers (Elias Koteas) in the firm where she works as an assistant. Leonard is awkward, a man of few words, who just wants to pursue his interest in photography and live a decent life. He and Sandra get along well and the prospects of marriage to her and working for her father are very attractive. At first, he just sees Michelle as a vulnerable friend that he looks out for, but becomes infatuated with her and is tempted to join her when she decides to break up with her lover and move away. With a third option in mind based on the opening scene, we are kept wondering right up to the end what choice Leonard makes.

In his third collaboration with director James Gray, Joaquin Phoenix turns in a brilliant performance, supported by a strong cast. The slow pace and intimacy of the story give us enough time to know every character and be really interested in what happens to them.

1numbers: refers to the genetic database kept by Jewish Americans to determine whether prospective spouses are both carriers of Tay-Sachs disease.


Consensus: Two Lovers is a well-made, believable film with excellent acting from lead Joaquin Phoenix. ***1/2 (Out of 4)

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