Rolling Stone - 02/05/2009 3 stars out of 4 -- "Bravely wearing his heart on his sleeve, James Gray directs the tender and terrific TWO LOVERS as an antidote to the virus of the hip....Phoenix, in one of his best performances, finds the bruised romantic in Leonard Kraditor."
Box Office - 02/01/2009
"[Alvarez] weaves the threads of her town masterfully, incorporating its characters' ancient habits and unadulterated spirits with aplomb."
USA Today - 02/13/2009
"TWO LOVERS is an involving, gently paced and well-cast drama about a tortured soul and his efforts at redemption....Joaquin Phoenix gives a superbly raw and excruciatingly vulnerable performance..."
New York Times - 02/13/2009
"[I]ts palette of emotions, like its rich and somber 35-millimeter cinematography, departs from the hand-held, hi-def, discursive style associated with directors like Joe Swanberg and Aaron Katz, harking back to an older, artistically more conservative film tradition of lush, earnest melodrama."
Los Angeles Times - 02/13/2009
"Themes of loneliness, alienation and unrequited love are not new, but there is always that sense of the unexpected in Phoenix that keeps you curious....Phoenix is at his best with Paltrow's bruised sparrow of a girl..."
Wall Street Journal - 02/13/2009
"This is an inspired performance by a superb actor in an elegantly grave romantic drama..."
Entertainment Weekly - 02/20/2009
"Mopey, sallow, and nearly mute, Leonard seems a fatally broken man. But Phoenix, in a feat of acting that keeps revealing new layers, gives him mordant flashes of insight and sex appeal." -- Grade: A-
Washington Post - 02/27/2009
"The movie's chief value is to preserve Phoenix at the height of his wary physical grace, which recalls a young Marlon Brando."
Chicago Sun-Times - 02/25/2009
"TWO LOVERS is anything but traditional, romantic or a comedy. It is a film of unusual perception, played at perfect pitch by Phoenix, Shaw, Paltrow and the other actors."
Total Film - 04/01/2009 4 stars out of 5 -- "Maverick filmmaker James Gray's rare, special film feels like the best kind of modern love story: one that could have taken place anywhere at any time....Powered all the way by a full cast of emotional, compulsive performances."
Premiere - 06/30/2009 3 stars out of 5 -- "A straight-forward love story that has some really good performances, a few nice twists, and seems genuine and heartfelt."
Los Angeles Times - 12/20/2009
Included in Los Angeles Times's "Best Films Of 2009" -- "There's nothing quite like the elegant performance pieces small films can give you."
James Gray, director of such hard-edged crime dramas as LITTLE ODESSA and THE YARDS, reveals the dark and unsettling complexities of love in his somber romantic drama, TWO LOVERS. Set against the gray winter backdrop of Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, the story centers on Leonard Kraditor (Joaquin Phoenix), a depressed and sometimes suicidal bachelor trying to pick up the pieces of his life after a bad breakup. Living with his parents and helping out at the family dry-cleaning business, Leonard finds himself in an existence that, save for his dabbling in black-and-white photography, is ordinary and stifling. His parents, mother Ruth (Isabella Rossellini) and father Reuben (Moni Moshonov), hope that a merger with a lucrative business--run by a friend of Reuben's with a pretty daughter, Sandra (Vinessa Shaw)--will spark a budding romance in Leonard. But their plan hits a snag when Leonard befriends Michelle (Gwyneth Paltrow), an alluring but emotionally needy blonde who struggles with her own desire for validation from a married man with whom she is having an affair. Phoenix is brilliant as the brooding and complex Leonard, an anti-hero caught between filial obligation and a longing for escape, who sees in Michelle a partner for his troubled soul. While TWO LOVERS can come off at times a bit unadorned and overly low-key, its great strength lies in its power to simply and honestly convey the muddled and awkward realities of love--a feat that could not be matched by 1000 generic Hollywood rom-coms.
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