Two Lovers

( 4 )

Overview

A depressed young man moves back in with his parents and finds his life turned upside down as he struggles to choose between the beautiful daughter of a close family friend and the scintillating but volatile next-door neighbor whose passion helps to reignite his lust for life. The third screen outing for writer/director James Gray and actor Joaquin Phoenix following We Own the Night and The Yards, Two Lovers co-stars Gwyneth Paltrow, Isabella Rossellini, and Vinessa Shaw. ...
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Overview

A depressed young man moves back in with his parents and finds his life turned upside down as he struggles to choose between the beautiful daughter of a close family friend and the scintillating but volatile next-door neighbor whose passion helps to reignite his lust for life. The third screen outing for writer/director James Gray and actor Joaquin Phoenix following We Own the Night and The Yards, Two Lovers co-stars Gwyneth Paltrow, Isabella Rossellini, and Vinessa Shaw.
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Special Features

Closed Caption; Commentary with director James Gray; Behind the scenes; Deleted scenes; HDNet: a look at two lovers; Photo gallery
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
Directing a movie is all about establishing and maintaining a consistent tone. When the editing, art direction, and cinematography all complement each other -- and when the actors understand how subtly they need to play each scene -- that's when a filmmaker has greatness within reach. James Gray achieves just that with Two Lovers because he tells a story of emotionally operatic proportion in the tone of a gentle whisper. The film stars Joaquin Phoenix as Leonard Kraditor, a suicidal young man living with his parents Isabella Rossellini and Moni Moshonov after a mental breakdown triggered by the tragic end of an otherwise happy engagement. His sensitive but traditional Jewish parents want him to take over the family dry-cleaning business, and they'd like to help him mend his broken heart. To that end, they introduce him to Sandra Cohen Vinessa Shaw, the oldest daughter of one of his father's business colleagues. Although the two begin a tentative romance, Leonard soon falls passionately in love with Michelle Rausch Gwyneth Paltrow, a neighbor dealing with her own emotional turmoil -- she's dating a married man Elias Koteas who won't follow through on promises to leave his wife. Phoenix drives the movie with a remarkable performance as a simple man who's as torn apart by his passions as he is compelled to act on them. He wants to be a photographer, but his dad wants him to run the family business. He loves the troubled blonde girl, but his parents keep pushing for the nice Jewish girl. Part of him wants to be the dutiful son, and he sees the appeal of living the life that's expected of him -- in no small part because of the tragedy he's already experienced. Taking advantage of the nuances in the script, Phoenix plays all of these internal struggles without resorting to James Dean-inspired brooding. Phoenix reveals the depth of Leonard's pain in the character's everyday conversations. The character forever tries to do the right thing for both himself and the people around him, and Phoenix gently underscores every interaction in subtle ways that show how he's being torn apart internally. What makes the performance all the more engaging is that Gray's dialogue never makes any of Leonard's internal life explicit. Leonard reveals his personal struggles with his voice, his eyes, and his mannerisms -- when he lays his soul bare for the woman he loves it's a striking contrast to how he approaches everyone else in the movie. This is the third time Gray and Phoenix have worked together, and if nothing else, the movie shows that they've developed a remarkable trust in one another's skills. But it's not just Phoenix's show. Vinessa Shaw and Gwyneth Paltrow deliver finely nuanced performances, and both of them deftly reveal subtle truths about their characters through interpretation rather than dialogue. Elias Koteas has scarcely ten minutes of screen time, but somehow manages to make us sympathize with the philandering husband who's been stringing Michelle along, and Isabella Rossellini shines as Leonard's mother, radiating a compassion for her son that never crosses over into stereotypical maternal suffocation. The entire story practically begs for scenes with huge cathartic upheavals -- the kind of scenes that make their way into Oscar highlight reels -- but instead Gray plays everything close to the vest because he knows that's exactly what his characters would do.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 6/30/2009
  • UPC: 876964001892
  • Original Release: 2008
  • Rating:

  • Source: Magnolia
  • Region Code: 1
  • Presentation: Wide Screen
  • Time: 1:50:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 17,351

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Joaquin Phoenix Leonard Kraditor
Gwyneth Paltrow Michelle Rausch
Vinessa Shaw Sandra Cohen
Isabella Rossellini Ruth Kraditor
Elias Koteas Ronald Blatt
Moni Moshonov Reuben Kraditor
John Ortiz Jose Cordero
Bob Ari Michael Cohen
Julie Budd Carol Cohen
Technical Credits
James Gray Director, Producer, Screenwriter
Douglas Aibel Casting
John Axelrad Editor
Joaquin Baca-Asay Cinematographer
Marc Butan Executive Producer
Michael Clancy Costumes/Costume Designer
Mark Cuban Executive Producer
Donna Gigliotti Producer
Anthony Katagas Producer
Happy Massee Production Designer
Ric Menello Screenwriter
Agnes Mentre Executive Producer
Couper Samuelson Co-producer
Dana Sano Musical Direction/Supervision
Mike Upton Co-producer
Todd Wagner Executive Producer
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Two Lovers
1. Troubled [9:08]
2. Photography [3:50]
3. Michelle [6:18]
4. The Subway [5:53]
5. Sneaking Out [4:57]
6. Dance Out [5:31]
7. Dinner Invitation [5:08]
8. Restaurant [7:56]
9. Unexpected Visit [6:16]
10. Advice on Ronald [3:24]
11. Bar Mitzvah [2:52]
12. Hospital [1:39]
13. Gift From Sandra [7:09]
14. Travel Plans [11:25]
15. Elope [10:34]
16. Credits [11:46]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Two Lovers
   Play Movie
   Scene Selection
   Set Up
      Audio
         5.1 English Dolby Digital
         2.0 English Dolby Digital
         Commentary With Director, James Gray
      Subtitles
         Spanish
         Off
   Special Features
      Behind the Scenes
      Deleted Scenes
         Play All
         Leonard Says Good-Bye to Lose
         Michelle Leaves a Message
         Michelle's Breakup
      HDNet: a Look at Two Lovers
      Photo Gallery
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(1)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(0)

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 20, 2012

    I Also Recommend:

    Just as it says on the back of the case, Joaquin Phoenix deliver

    Just as it says on the back of the case, Joaquin Phoenix delivers a most "raw performance" in this one. That's one of the main things I liked about Two Lovers. I've never seen the man play such a loose, libertine character; Leo was so berserk in a charismatic way that it made him highly amiable. Phoenix, along with other great actors and actresses, made the film a success in my book. I probably wouldn't remember to openly mention Two Lovers as one of my favorite Drama/Romance movies, but it definitely would make the list of my Top Twenty. (The overall theme of this film reminded me somewhat of Last Night (Keira Knightley), which happens to be another one of my adored Drama features.)

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews