When Two Lovers — James Gray’s excellent, moody, and well-acted drama — hit movie theaters earlier this year, it was overshadowed by the bizarre antics of its star, Joaquin Phoenix. But forget about Phoenix’s beard and rapper aspirations and be sure to catch his poignant and multilayered performance this time around on DVD (available 6/30).
Phoenix plays Leonard, a heartbroken and severely depressed man who’s returned to the familial nest in Brooklyn, where his parents (Isabella Rossellini and Moni Monoshov) hope to pair him off with an appropriate woman. Their eye is on Sandra (Vinessa Shaw), the sweet daughter of a businessman in negotiations to buy Leonard’s family’s dry-cleaning business. But Leonard becomes infatuated with Michelle, the beautiful and neurotic shiksa (Gwyneth Paltrow) who lives across the courtyard. It’s a classic love triangle that thankfully never teeters into clichés. Instead, thanks to its good old-fashioned storytelling, the film unfolds unhurriedly and unsentimentally to quite a moving conclusion.
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