James Gray, 2008



Leonard (Joaquin Phoenix) falls in love with two different women.


Leonard tries to commit suicide after a break up. Now he works for his dad (Moni Moshonov). His parents introduce him to Sandra (Vinessa Shaw) who seems to be very attracted in Leonard.

You know, our parents wanted us to meet. No actually, I have to tell the truth… I wanted to meet you.

In the meantime, Leonard notices his neighbor Michelle (Gwyneth Paltrow) who’s having a fight with her lover. He has a crush on her.

Leonard is being torn between the two women but feels like starting something serious with Michelle. He spends all his money on a ring. They are talking about the west coast. The day they’re supposed to leave, Michelle drops him down.

Leonard is desperate. He throws the ring on the beach and then goes pick it up. He comes back home where Sandra is waiting for him and he offers her the ring.


Two Lovers is about not following your heart.

Leonard was engaged in a dead-end relationship because the couple could not have a baby together. Leonard is bipolar, which means he has a tendency to over-react. He survived this painful episode, then what happens?

Sandra enters his life because she wanted it. She had noticed Leonard. She chose him. She is stable, patient. She knows what she wants. Leonard’s mum Ruth (Isabella Rossellini) has validated Sandra. Even though she has a quiet personality, she is not boring. Leonard and her make love passionately. She listens to him, calls him back, offers him presents. She cares for him. Leonard is already a member of the family. Life is possible with her.

Michelle is a complete different story. She crashes in Leonard’s life. Leonard invites her to his place so she can hide from her lover (Elias Koteas). Ruth doesn’t like this woman who clearly doesn’t know what she wants : She dreams of Manhattan. She’s in a relationship with a married man. She had a miscarriage. She does drugs. She only talks about herself. She doesn’t really care for him at all.

You’re like a brother to me!

Michelle comes and goes, showing up at her window and then disappearing from the nightclub without warning. Life is simply not possible with her.

And yet Leonard is completely obsessed with Michelle. He let her in. She’s fragile, just like him. He believes she is extraordinary whereas Sandra is in the norm. He can be fun with Michelle. She’s a fantasy. She makes him suffer but he doesn’t care because she also brings him so many emotions. He can spend an entire night talking to her on the phone. He meets with her on the roof to have sex. Everything is intense, she’s like a drug to him. He makes crazy plans like going to the other side of the country. He thinks he’s in love with her. He’s attracted to Michelle because she’s a way out for him. He unconsciously makes stupid things because of her like wasting all his money in a ring for her. He’s about to quit on everything.

I have to go mum…

But you don’t even have a bag!

When Michelle turns him down, Leonard finds himself in the void once again. He let her take him to the darkness. With his condition, the worst has to be expected. But he gets over it.

Leonard thought he was in love with Michelle but realizes he’s in love with Sandra. He was passionate about Michelle. Passion lets the heart take over. It left Leonard with just a “sorry”. Leonard didnt’t want to feel sorry for himself anymore. Therefore he stopped following his heart to listen to reason. And reason says Sandra. She is the best for him. With her he can become an adult.

A kid’s got to start thinking about his future sometime.

Leonard had to jump to the sea and go through an ultimate pain to come to this realization. Sandra is the love of his life – not a second choice. Sandra is the one who deserves everything.

What turns us into the slave of Michelle? Why do we resist to Sandra? What does it take for us to make a difference?



This publication reflects the views only of the author.



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