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Two Lovers (2008)

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A Brooklyn-set romantic drama about a bachelor torn between the family friend his parents wish he would marry and his beautiful but volatile new neighbor.



, (as Richard Menello)
3 wins & 16 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Anne Joyce ...
Leonard's Ex-Fiancée
Bystander #2
Carmen M. Herlihy ...
Lady with Baby Carriage
Another Bystander (as Don Hewitt Jr.)
Christian Albrizo ...
Some Kid
Julie Budd ...
Iain J. Bopp ...
David Cohen


Leonard Kraditor is a burned-out case, living with his immigrant parents after his fiancée left him, helping out at their Brooklyn dry cleaners, taking photographs, at loose ends, suicidal. In quick succession, he meets two women: Sandra, the daughter of his parents' business associates, frank, direct, sensual, Jewish like Leonard; and, his neighbor Michelle, mercurial, rootless, fun, blond, unattainable. Michelle is in love with a married man and cries on Leonard's shoulder; Sandra wants to save him. Is Leonard willing to risk losing Sandra's fidelity for the moments Michelle's moods swing toward him? Can this end well? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Sometimes we leave everything to find ourselves.


Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, some sexuality and brief drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

20 March 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Amantes  »

Box Office


$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$117,591 (USA) (13 February 2009)


$3,148,482 (USA) (26 June 2009)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The role of Michelle was written with Gwyneth Paltrow in mind. James Gray actually credits Paltrow with inspiring him to write the script, as he met her at a party and she lamented that all his movies were too masculine, so he wrote this to prove her wrong. See more »


When Michelle is lying in bed with Ronald sitting next to her and asking what happened, she asks him to leave and turns on her right side in a close-up shot. In the next room-wide shot, she has suddenly returned to her back, and after he has left the next close-up shows her on her side again. See more »


Michael Cohen: A kid's got to start thinking about his future sometime.
See more »


Vivo Sonhando
Written by Antonio Carlos Jobim
Performed by Stan Getz
Courtesy of The Verve Music Group
Under License from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

A small, but very affective watch.
3 March 2009 | by (Trondheim, Norway) – See all my reviews

James Gray's latest film tells the tale of Leonard Kraditor (Joaquin Phoenix), a man who had a problematic break-up with his fiancée two years ago, and has since been heading down a suicidal road. 4-months into living back home with his anxious parents (played by Moni Moshonov and Isabella Rossellini) and helping out at his father's dry-cleaning business, Leonard is introduced to Sandra (Vinessa Shaw), a sweet daughter of his father's business friend. Wearing her heart on her sleeve, Leonard has moments of true spark with her, and you can see his eyes changing away from the torment inside. A woman is surely the right thing for Leonard, as he carves through the days with a worn-out heart and a mind in loneliness. Soon after meeting Sandra, he befriends Michelle (Gwyneth Paltrow), a beautiful but messed-up girl that's dating her married boss (played by Elias Koteas). With her, Leonard sees an escape, and a burning romance. Leonard's mind is now set on two women, and he finds himself torn between them.

James Gray hadn't really impressed me with his earlier films, for me they all lacked out on the intensity and became standard crime-thrillers. With his latest melodramatic romance, he really surprised me; he does a caring job directing the three performers, and he tells a strange and tender story. The music of the film is Jewish guitar-instrumentals that are carefully intertwined, but most of the film has got a blanket of quiet bleakness, and it's covering every little corner.

The performances of Gwyneth Paltrow and Vinessa Shaw are great, and although the two never share screen-space, director Gray naturally and carefully shifts between the two lives Leonard is living, and so the two of them add lovely pieces to the story. But it's in-between the double relationship the film and its protagonist is living, the film has to connect, and it couldn't have been done better than by Joaquin Phoenix. Leonard is a suicidal depressive that enters human-bounding and the give & receive of it, and this is a very difficult character to portray - but just look at Phoenix, he is phenomenal; the incredible naturalism of it shows Phoenix in the performance of his career.

The melancholy of the film doesn't make it for the dominant audience, but I've never even cared a bit for that, and it's a delight that romance on screen can be thrown upon like this. 'Two Lovers' is a small film with a heart that's full of rare atmosphere, the form of it is tearing and in center, a superb Joaquin Phoenix.

31 of 33 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Remake with younger actors... phultra
Leonard's character + Phoenix's looks felin1
Creepiest movie ever? punkbuster76
I don't think Joaquin was acting. mysticgirl35
Just one thing that tripped me up sonyahunt27
a different take on ending cheremaman
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