Reviews & Previews - Two Lovers

Posted on Monday, March 09, 2009 at 06:00 PM

Two Lovers

By: S. Tran

Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Gwyneth Paltrow, Vinessa Shaw
Directed By: James Gray
Running Time: 148 minutes
Rated: R

Too Boring

Some people say that the mark of a great movie is how closely it can capture real life. This, of course, is garbage. Movies are meant to entertain above all. The realism that a director can bring to a film is to heighten the entertainment value of the movie by bringing the audience into their world. We can be entertained in various ways, by laughing, crying, feeling afraid or excited. Any of those work. What does not work is trying to entertain us by boring us for two hours.

Let me get this out of the way first. The acting in this film is top notch. All three principle actors do a great job and in some respects this film almost felt like a documentary. However, no matter how good your actors are, if you put them in a mind numbingly slow and uninteresting story the film does not work.

The story (such as it is) centers on Leonard (Phoenix), a thirty something loner who lives with his parents. He meets Sandra (Shaw) a daughter of his parent's friends and the two begin dating. His life is complicated though by his attraction to Michelle (Paltrow), a neighbour in the apartment and he begins to see both women.

This is one of those quiet, serious movies where we are supposed to appreciate how quiet and serious everyone is and ignore the fact that nothing really interesting happens for two hours. I don't mind quiet movies. One of my favourite films of all time was a Korean film with almost no dialogue. What I do mind though is a movie that feels you should be grateful just to watch great actors doing nothing. It was like watching people on film read the phone book. Yes, you will believe they are really reading the phone book, but it doesn't mean it should have been made into a movie.

Maybe I am stupid and missed the point of the movie. Maybe this wasn't about some loser dating a really boring woman while lusting after another self absorbed woman. Maybe something happened in the movie and I completely missed it. Maybe the glacier like pacing of the movie is meant to make us aware of our own mortality or whatever. I have no idea. All I know is that you can't just throw in brooding, melancholy acting with a dull story and say you have made an entertaining film. Or maybe you can because other critics seem to love this snooze fest.


2 out of 5 stars.


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