Two Lovers Reviews
His performance is so good that the plot didn't have to be that strong.
This guy made this film one of the most entertaining of the year just with his performance.
The film centers on Leonard Kraditor (Joaquin Phoenix), a broken, depressed man, who finds himself both courting a semi-arranged relationship by his parents, while also pursuing the equally lost but enchanting Michelle Rausch (Gwyneth Paltrow). He is thus thrust from a state of depression to one of uncertainly, but also a certain exhilaration. As the film progresses, we see the hidden vulnerabilities underlying all of the characters, making for some very fascinating dynamics. The performances are accordingly powerful, and result in a very nuanced film.
The script paints us characters that we can all relate to, if not completely identify with. It's not a drama concerned with formula or easy answers, but rather asks the question of what motivates love and, perhaps more importantly, what motivates people? Through Joaquin Phoenix we see the wild swings of love, yet also witness its resiliency in the end, or perhaps just the pragmatics that underlines so many of our choices. Through Paltrow, we see a woman who is her own worst enemy, and with Vinessa Shaw's character, we see the longing for any sort of connection. All of these dynamics interact beautifully to create a richly conveyed story.
If there's a criticism of Two Lovers, it's wanting more of an exploration of Phoenix's character, specifically his last relationship. We find out through various exchanges some of what took place, but this is never fully explored, and is certainly germane to his current state. Still, what's vital is hot so much how he arrived at this current emotional state but rather what that emotional state is, which the film achieves.
Overall a very strong romantic drama.