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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.

Director:

James Gray

Writers:

James Gray, Ric Menello (as Richard Menello)
3 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Joaquin Phoenix ... Leonard Kraditor
Anne Joyce Anne Joyce ... Leonard's Ex-Fiancée
Elliot Villar ... Bystander
Craig Walker ... Bystander #2
Carmen M. Herlihy Carmen M. Herlihy ... Lady with Baby Carriage
Donald John Hewitt ... Another Bystander (as Don Hewitt Jr.)
Christian Albrizo Christian Albrizo ... Some Kid
Isabella Rossellini ... Ruth Kraditor
Moni Moshonov ... Reuben Kraditor
Julie Budd ... Carol Cohen
Bob Ari ... Michael Cohen
Iain J. Bopp Iain J. Bopp ... David Cohen
Vinessa Shaw ... Sandra Cohen
Gwyneth Paltrow ... Michelle Rausch
Samantha Ivers ... Stephanie
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

Sometimes we leave everything to find ourselves.

Genres:

Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | France

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 March 2009 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Amantes See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$12,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$117,591, 15 February 2009, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$3,148,482, 28 June 2009
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

SDDS | Dolby Digital | DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Doug Wright, who plays the maitre d' at the restaurant, is the writer of Quills, which starred Joaquin Phoenix in 2000. See more »

Goofs

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 »

Quotes

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

Connections

Featured in Maltin on Movies: Awards Special 2013 (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Lines of Change
Written by Simone Sello
Performed by Simone Sello (as Simone X)
Courtesy of RedRum Productions
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
A small, but very affective watch.
3 March 2009 | by EijnarAmadeusSee 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.


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