Monday, April 13, 2009

"Two Lovers" (2008) - Movie Review

Here is a film which approaches the identities of a day to day romance without inhibitions of the right and wrong in it. Its main man Leonard Kraditor (Joaquin Phoenix) with troubles from his past wants to have his options open. Thus he acts on impulse and never stops doing it. The dilemma’s on the certainties of relationships are pestering seeds of tempt and desire. And having been broken once, Leonard does not care about the consequences. This is “Two Lovers”, a film by James Gray which is an odd story of love and the deceiving feeling of it in its players.

We see how indecisive Leonard is as he drops himself into the bay and in struggling minutes rises up to ask for help. He comes home dripping wet to his home where he lives with his parents Reuben (Moni Moshonov) and Ruth (Isabella Rossellini). They know what he has attempted because it has happened before. He cuddles in the depressed state of letting down himself in his room. In the cycle of coming out of depression, he is still in state one and he needs another woman, and in this case may be two. In his Jewish family circle a relationship is prospected within through family friendships change to business collaboration and thus obviously forming new bonds in between them too. Here it is his father’s friend Mr. Cohen (Bob Ari) and he has a beautiful daughter Sandra (Vinessa Shaw). They are set up by their parents and Leonard has the mystique to attract her. She tells she wanted to see him because she saw him in an attractive cuteness in his father’s dry cleaning shop inviting his mom to dance with him.

Leonard then encounters a blonde neighbour Michelle (Gwyneth Paltrow) and begin to wonder prospects with her too. Now he has two women and does not want to lose either because he is afraid. He wants to be right in his feelings. While he likes Sandra, there is a clear commonality with Michelle who we later find out is a mistress. Leonard has his depressing past of his fiance leaving him for some odd issue. Until the culminating scene where Leonard openly declares his love for Michelle and explains why, we have no clue on what feelings he is acting upon in juggling this two women.

Joaquin Phoenix brings an unparalleled face to Leonard. His Leonard is shy but a slight encouragement of his theatrics would cut him loose. He gets into the car with three women going for clubbing and within no time pulling that string of innocence and cuteness even at his age, he is the center man in the car. Phoenix does not let the audience inside his head but takes us comfortably through his convenience in concealing and sneaking around. We never understand where his heart is even though he makes extra effort to follow through Michelle. Sandra though is set up tactically by her parents and he does not mind her and in a way sympathizes her for being trapped in this family routines. But she is an alternative for him whenever he gets defeated with Michelle.

James Gray’s “We Own the Night” was a film which had various tones of emotions in it. It posed as an action thriller while had this string of family burdens and the guilt of putting them through of one’s actions well with Phoenix and his relationship with Mark Wahlberg and Robert Duvall in it. Here it is a mellow entry in to the minds of this young man beginning to act as his wish. He does not seem to bother about the heart’s he is going to break of Sandra and his family knowing about Michelle. With Michelle though he just hints he has a girl friend as the prospect with her always seems flimsy. What makes him to go beyond that string of guilt? That should be troubling whenever he does the positively definitely the wrong thing in the particular scenario we are not disturbed by it and neither worried. We see it as the mistakes with the care for the story. We particularly do not get fond of Leonard but the way the story is told we like it.

In the end, it is a soft tale of a man on the edge of break down begins to take blind steps . He encounters two gorgeous woman, Sandra especially adores him as he is the perfect match in family, business, religion and her category of taking care of him. Michelle sees him as the outlet of her chaotic mistakes in her own life. In between these two Leonard plays around to get the best and does not hesitate to shift lovers around when needed. Is it wrong? Yes but James Gray makes it a lovable film with an odd touch of truth.

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