In Two Lovers, Joaquin Phoenix plays Leonrard, an awkward, lumpish and directionless bachelor who lives with his parents in Brooklyn. He falls in love with his wild, needy and self-centred neighbour Michelle, while on the other hand conforming to his familial duty to propose to Sandra, the stable daughter of his father’s business associate.
I’ve never been much of a fan of the icy regal Gwyneth Paltrow, but for the first time for me she was able to display a warmer side which was believable and endeared me to her bad-news character. Vinessa Shaw added some depth to Sandra who could have easily been the cardboard cutout of the perfect Jewish princess daughter-in-law. As for Joaquin Phoenix, he announced recently that Two Lovers would be his last film as he was going to concentrate on his career as a rapper (!). A shame really, as he is pretty good at the acting game. I can acknowledge this fact even though since his turn as Emperor Commodus in Gladiator, I’ve not been able to watch his sneering upper lip on screen without my skin crawling.