Two Lovers (2008) James Gray
Otherwise known as the movie made prior (or maybe during) Joaquin Phoenix goes bug f*ck insane. Anyway Two Lovers is a “romantic drama” about Leonard (Joaquin Phoenix) a young man who is living with his parents after a failed suicide attempt (brought on after his fiance left him). Leonard’s parents introduce him to unbelievably nice and caring Sandra (Vinessa Shaw) who immediately takes a liking to the quiet and “sensitive” Leonard. Leonard also quickly lusts after Michelle (Gwyneth Paltrow) who lives in the same building. Michelle is an emotional wreck who uses drugs and is lusting after a married man in Elias Koteas. Leonard is going after Michelle and uses Sandra as a fall back. Michelle only thinks of Leonard as a friend and wants to be with the married man.
What a depressing ass f*cking movie. And what is really bizarre is how much I think people are misinterpreting this movie. Okay I say spoilers but if you seriously can’t see where the movie goes from here you haven’t seen ANY movies. Leonard lusts after Michelle even though she clearly has no interest in him and is only after the married man. Leonard strings along Sandra as a fall back until there is the slightest glimmer of hope he and Michelle can get together. Leonard ultimately gets his heart broken by Michelle (who ends up with Koteas’ character) and Leonard decides to marry Sandra. What is so puzzling about what I have been reading from others is how Leonard “grows up” and learns an important life lesson and decides to marry the true love. That’s BULLSHIT! I’m sorry, I can’t believe I am telling the majority of movie reviewers they are dead wrong but they honestly are not seeing the subtext in this movie. Leonard doesn’t learn any important life lesson are you kidding me!? Leonard is settling for second best. If you pay attention to what the camera is showing you then you know Leonard could not get what he wanted and is hedging his bets.
This movie is predicable from the 20 minute mark which makes it one of the dullest movies of the year. Really I was lying back in my theater chair wishing I had my remote so I could fast forward between predictable plot point to predictable plot point to the lame finish. Its rare that I don’t want to finish a movie in a theater, but damn if this didn’t hurt to sit all the way through. What’s also strange is that it seems like the director wants Leonard to be a sympathetic figure when he is anything but. He is not the quiet but sensitive artist Gray wants us to believe. He is a creepy (borderline psychotic) selfish, lying, stubborn man-child. Kudos for Phoenix for creating such a creepy character (and that is the reason most people are praising this movie) but it was yet another reason to not like this movie. This was a dull and annoying anti-romance which really got under my skin and made me hate it.
Still thinking about this movie I am still pissed off. This is a god awful movie with a horrible message that the only reason it got good reviews was it was Phoenix’s last performance and they wanted to be kind to him. Fuck this movie.