An attractive but depressed young man moves back in with his parents following a recent heartbreak. An aspiring photographer, Leonard works part-time at his father's dry-cleaners. One night Leonard looks out his bedroom window and notices a ravishing young woman who recently moved into an apartment in his family's building, paid for by the wealthy married man she's seeing.
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At The Movies
Two Lovers (PG) * * *
Director: James Gray
Stars: Joaquin Phoenix, Gwyneth Paltrow
Studio: Alliance Films
Audience Suitability: PG
Rating: * * *
Running Time: 110 Minutes
Release Date: April 10, 2009
By ROBERT WALDMAN
Many men dream of getting it on with more than one woman at a time. Excess can prove deadly to some. One Ã¢â‚¬Å“averageÃ¢â‚¬Â man must come to terms with those inner demons in Two Lovers, a rightly named drama from Alliance Films now causing consternation at the Fifth Avenue Cinemas.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Tough luck seems to follow Leonard Kraditor around. Despite two loving parents this young man seems to be heading nowhere. Old school parents do what they can to protect their boy but he suffers from some mental ailments. Charitable folks would say heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not all there.
Bad thoughts cloud LeonardÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s mind so itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s quite a surprise when he meets local lovely Sandra Cohen. Faith means everything to immigrants and LeonardÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s parents are delighted with this new fledgling love. Wait a minute, not so fast. While Leonard busies himself with this svelte brunette he makes the acquaintance of new neighbour Michelle Rausch. Young and beautiful this average looking guy is smitten by this blonde beauty. Unfortunately for Leonard that attraction is not mutual.
We end up with a bizarre love battle royal as this plain boy must struggle with two dynamic young women. Each of these women also have families and/or lovers which further complicated and confuse an already tense situation. Cover-ups become common as we get engulfed in the interesting trysts of these young people whose baggage begin to multiply.
Sense of both religion and working class struggles are well accounted for in Two Lovers as are the trials and tribulations of people with some medical infirmity. Caught between two would-be girlfriends is Joaquin Phoenix who exhibits just the right degree of aloofness to get your attention. Women are at the core of this struggle with both Gwyneth Paltrow (Se7en) and Vinessa Shaw (3:10 to Yuma) fully capable of making any man squirm and cloud those overworked brain cells.
Written and directed by James Gray (The Yards) for 110 minutes we bear witness for one young manÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s coming of age with all the pains and sorrows love affairs so entail.
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This film may possibly be Joaquin PhoenixÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s last. I hope it is not, but if it is he ends on giving one of his best performances. Two Lovers is about heartbreak and the complication of a relationship. The mind wants one thing, but the heart wants another. PhoenixÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s character is going through that very struggle. He does not know what he wants or what heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s getting in to.
The story is about Leonard Kraditor(Phoenix) who has moved back in with his parents. His father is going in to business with another guy, and so the set of parents decide to hook up their two kids. Sandra (played by Vinessa Shaw) seems like she is perfect for Leonard. Leonard practically tells her all his secrets the first night he meets her. We find out that Leonard has been in love before. Actually he was engaged. However, the engagement falls a part and it haunts Leonard. But Sandra is there for him. She wants to take care of him. However, things change when Leonard meets Michelle.
Gwyneth Paltrow plays Michelle, who has a lot of baggage attached to her. Leonard finds out Michelle has a boyfriend, and that boyfriend is married. But this does not stop Leonard from falling head-over-heels for her. He likes her. Then he slowly starts to love her. He has forgotten all about Sandra and wants to be with Michelle. He wants to take care of her. So, as the film unfolds we see the struggle of Leonard and the woman he wants to be with.
Gwyneth Paltrow does a good job in this film, and so does Vinessa Shaw. Both of these ladies show their talent in these characters. But Joaquin Phoenix shows the most talent. He plays a heart-broken man who may never want a relationship again. He has tried suicide more than once and is a very confused man. And Phoenix is able to show all these emotions even sometimes without saying a word. This is an interesting story about love and what it can do to people. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s about finding that right person or who you think might be the right person for you. You never know what role love might choose.