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A good movie

Posted : 8 years, 1 month ago on 26 August 2011 02:44

When I watched this movie, I really had no idea it would be Joaquin Phoenix's last movie. However, fortunately, in the mean time, he is back from this BS retirement thing. Anyway, I thought it was a pretty good flick like all other movies directed by James Gray, except he didn’t wait 7 long years to make it (it was released only a year after his previous directing effort ‘We Own the Night’). To start with, this movie had a rather amazing mood (even though, I have to admit it, the whole thing was actually rather depressing) and it was really well shot, something I always enjoy in James Gray’s work. As usual, Joaquin Phoenix delivered an amazing performance and even Gwyneth Paltrow showed that she could be a terrific actress, in spite of what most of us might think. Still, I thought that the story was actually nothing really original, and there was something slightly annoying about these characters but it was definitely an intriguing approach and they gave an interesting turn to the triangle romantic dilemma. To conclude, it is a rather grim romantic drama and many viewers won't appreciate it but I thought it was pretty good and it is definitely worth a look, especially if you are interested in James Gray’s work.

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Two Lovers

Posted : 9 years, 1 month ago on 7 September 2010 01:49

If you're seeking an uplifting love story or a romantic comedy, this film is exactly the opposite of what you're looking for: despite the alluring title, Two Lovers is a very grim movie, and that's a fact we find out very quickly, as soon as the film opens, and our protagonist, Leonard (Joaquin Phoenix), makes a clumsy attempt at suicide. This film isn't a portrayal of a cute love triangle (in fact, the two women who become romantically involved with the main character never even meet or speak to each other), but rather a story about frustration and heartbreak.

Leonard's parents have found someone who seems to be a perfect match for their son: Sandra (Vinessa Shaw), the daughter of the businessman who plans on buying the family's dry cleaning store to turn it into a more profitable venue. Sandra is very good at taking initiative in demonstrating her interest in Leonard, and she's very sweet. Heck, her favorite movie is The Sound of Music, which Leonard agrees is underrated (as a side note, I always appreciate it when a script gives way for characters to talk about movies they like - obviously, it's something that cinephiles watching a movie are always going to be curious about as they get invested in a character). Enter Michelle (Gwyneth Paltrow), who lives in the same building as Leonard and his parents. She's every bit as charming as Sandra, but has a wilder, spunkier personality, and is far less stable: she's having an affair with a married man and she takes ecstasy pills. She sees Leonard as more of a brother/friend, and has every hope to have things work out with the guy she's having the affair with. So, will our main character convince Michelle to put an end to her adulterous venture and stay with him, or will he choose the safer, more comfortable road of staying with the amiable Sandra, thus pleasing his parents?

The scenes between Leonard and Michelle are certainly the best material the film has to offer, doing a very good job of capturing the awkwardness and the sense of insecurity that emerges throughout courtship. Michelle describes herself as a "fucked up" person, and while her self-assessment is largely true, she still proves a delightful character to get to know. It's a shame that the scenes involving Leonard's relationship with Sandra aren't handled as well. Sure, this is partly due to the very obvious fact that Leonard is much more interested in the riskier choice of being with Michelle, but that doesn't justify that the transition from the first scene in which Leonard and Sandra meet each other to the second scene in which they see each other again is so jarring. It's a little hard to believe that Sandra is so smitten with Leonard. If it seemed as though she was doing it simply to please her parents, it'd be understandable, but as Vinessa Shaw plays her, she seems genuinely interested in being with him, which makes for a flaw in that more time wasn't devoted to Leonard and Sandra's time together (and it's a shame because Sandra's a pretty interesting character on her own, and I would've liked to get to know her better).

The final moments of the film totally unravel Leonard's dilemma in terms of choosing which of the two women to be with, a choice that ends up having even larger consequences for the route his life would take as we get near the end credits. As much as we know what he wants to do, these scenes still feature quite a bit of tension because there's this constant feeling that things may be out of his hands. I do suspect, though, that many viewers will be able to predict the ending. Without spoiling it, I'll simply say that, even if some consider it to be a predictable conclusion, there's no doubt that we get a nice helping of insight on people's priorities when it comes to the decisions they make in terms of their love lives, and the way that those decisions can have such a strong impact on others who essentially get shafted as a result of those decisions. While its grim nature may turn some people off, and despite the fact that one half of its love triangle is developed better than the other, this is a nuanced, affecting motion picture.

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Dostoiévski e Joaquins

Posted : 9 years, 10 months ago on 20 December 2009 10:20

Filho único de um casal de imigrantes, Leonard volta para casa dos pais após um traumático término de noivado e sucessivas tentativas de suicídio. Donos da lavanderia onde o filho eventualmente trabalha forçam um romance entre Leonard e a filha do novo sócio, a sensível e plácida Sandra, inteiramente disponível e disposta a cuidar das profundas cicatrizes do personagem de Joaquin Phoenix.

Seu relacionamento com Sandra se desenvolve assim como sua ordinária rotina, seguindo o fluxo, enquanto sua inquietude e ansiedade parecem a ponto de transbordar. É um encontro casual com a nova vizinha, Michelle, que dá vazão aos extremos de Leonard.

Tempestuosa e imatura, Michelle é amante de um rico advogado que se divide entre a esposa e as noites em que a leva a ópera e sua relação com o Leonard remete ao enredo do romance “Noites Brancas”. Mas essa previsibilidade da trama é um detalhe, o triunfo de James Gray está na metáfora visual, um Brooklyn, visto do topo do prédio nas cenas mais densas e incômodas, com atmosfera da São Peterburgo de Dostoiévski.

A melancolia e a ansiedade emergentes das belíssimas atuações, como a de Isabella Rossellini na pele da mãe de Leonard, completam e coroam essa bela e dolorosa crônica que recebeu ano passado indicação a Palma de Ouro em Cannes: mérito de um maduro James Gray e seus Joaquins: seu protagonista e o diretor de fotografia Joaquin Baca-Asay.

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Posted : 10 years, 5 months ago on 26 May 2009 12:20

We foolishly went to see this thinking it was a bit of an easy Sunday night film. WARNING - it is not.

Joaquin mumbles
Gwen flashes a boob

The end result is so depressing you will end up with no hope in true love and want to top yourself.

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