I might sound cocky saying this, but watching this movie, watching stars like Joaquin Phoenix and Gwyneth Paltrow and Isabella Rossellini say the lines and emote the emotions in this movie, I couldn’t help but think that I could write one pretty easily, too.
This movie wasn’t bad. It was just simple. It didn’t blow me away with its depth and gravitas and all that. It was just a movie about a guy who liked two girls. None of the characters were particularly sympathetic—Gwyneth, as Michelle, was almost too good as the needy, string-along type who completely crumbled Leonard’s (Phoenix) heart in her hands. Joaquin reminded me of the mail guy at my office, willing to do almost anything for anyone, including getting walked all over. And Vinessa Shaw was, by process of elimination, the most charming. She didn’t do anything wrong the whole time, besides fall for Joaquin after their parents introduced them.
It was the saddest kind of love triangle, but it wasn’t so sad that you really felt sorry for anyone. Leonard and Michelle, especially, were two of the types of people you hope never get attached to you in real life. And Sandra (Shaw) is the type of girl you hold onto, plain and simple.
Under normal circumstances, I’d probably give this movie a big fat “MEH” rating, just because it didn’t do anything profound for me, but there was something about it that made me think. I’m also a huge fan of Joaquin and Gwyneth, despite whatever odd public personas they’ve created for themselves. In any case, towards the end of the movie, when Leonard purchased a ring for Michelle but then wound up giving it to Sandra, it got me thinking about how odd the act of marriage proposal really is. When you marry someone, you’re marrying their past, too, and in the case of Sandra, she was getting herself into some unfortunate deep shit. Leonard had been engaged before, but he and his ex were deemed genetically incompatible (that is, their children would have died at an early age because of gene mutations, Tay Sachs or something) so he went on a bit of a bender after they broke up. That’s deep shit right there. And Sandra is marrying that? Everyone deserves a second chance, to be sure, but it’s hard to trust that.
So, Two Lovers. An alright film, an interesting message, a few great actors, and an unexpected boost of self-confidence. Maybe I’ll put pen to paper one of these days.