Two Lovers
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A Note Regarding Spoilers

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Two Lovers can be found here.

No. Two Lovers is based on a screenplay by screenwriter Richard Menello and screenwriter-director James Gray, who loosely based their script on Belye nochi (White Nights), a short story by Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky [1821-1881], originally published in 1848.

Yes. White Nights is no longer copyrighted and is available for online reading here. Just click on the text to turn the pages.

What is this movie about?

After breaking up with his fiance after they were both found to possess the gene for Tay Sachs disease, Leonard Kraditor (Joaquin Phoenix) attempts to commit suicide by drowning himself but is rescued in the nick of time. Still depressed, he moves back in with his parents, who introduce him to Sandra Cohen (Vinessa Shaw), the daughter of a close family friend. Sandra and Leonard hit it off until Leonard notices Michelle Rausch (Gwyneth Paltrow), a ravishing and exciting woman who recently moved into an apartment in his family's building thanks to the money she gets from her married lover, Ronald Blatt (Elias Koteas). Leonard becomes obsessed with Michelle, but her personal problems eventually lead him again into depression and suicidal thoughts, finally forcing him to make a choice between the volatile Michelle or the stable and caring Sandra.

Tay Sachs is a fatal degenerative disease caused by a genetic mutation that prevents the formation of a certain blood chemical necessary for breaking down fatty acids (gangliosides) in the brain. These fatty acids build up in the nervous cells, which soon become clogged, causing the entire nervous system to stop working. Infants afflicted with Tay Sachs disease start out as healthy babies until they are about six months old, then they progressively become blind, deaf, paralyzed, and unable to swallow. Death usually occurs before the child reaches three or four years of age. The genetic mutation that causes Tay Sachs is particularly prevalent in French Canadians, Louisiana Cajuns, and Ashkenazi Jews (Leonard is Jewish). Because of the devastating effect on infants born with the disease, two adults possessing the mutations are generally advised not to marry or, at least, not to produce children together.

If you really must know, Leonard chooses Michelle, but she doesn't choose him. So, he returns to Sandra.

Page last updated by bj_kuehl, 2 years ago
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