Prayer Focus
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Movie Review

Two Lovers a.k.a. “Amantes,” “Duplo amor,” “Dyo erotes”

MPAA Rating: R for language, some sexuality and brief drug use.

Reviewed by: Nory Garcia

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Romance, Drama
1 hr. 50 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
February 13, 2009 (7 theaters)
DVD: June 30, 2009
Copyright, 2929 Productions Copyright, 2929 Productions Copyright, 2929 Productions Copyright, 2929 Productions Copyright, 2929 Productions Copyright, 2929 Productions Copyright, 2929 Productions Copyright, 2929 Productions Copyright, 2929 Productions Copyright, 2929 Productions
Relevant Issues
Copyright, 2929 Productions
Suicide and depression

SUICIDE—What does the Bible say? Answer

If a Christian commits suicide, will they go to Heaven? Answer

DEPRESSION—Are there biblical examples of depression and how to deal with it? Answer

What should a Christian do if overwhelmed with depression? Answer

True love

What is true love and how do you know when you have found it? Answer

Sex, Love & Relationships
Learn how to make your love the best it can be. Discover biblical answers to questions about sex, marriage, sexual addictions, and more.
Sexual sin

Fornication in the Bible

What does the Bible say about adultery? Answer

Should I save sex for marriage? Answer

How can I deal with temptations? Answer

How far is too far? What are the guidelines for dating relationships? Answer

What are the consequences of sexual immorality? Answer

Answers and hope


Is Jesus Christ the answer to your questions?
Discover the good news that Jesus Christ offers
Paradise or Pain? Why is the world the way it is?
Why is the world the way it is? If God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and loving, would He really create a world like this? (filled with oppression, suffering, death and cruelty) Answer
Click here to watch THE HOPE on-line!
Discover God’s promise for all people—told beautifully and clearly from the beginning. Discover The HOPE! Watch it on-line, full-length motion picture.
Featuring: Joaquin Phoenix, Gwyneth Paltrow, Vinessa Shaw, Isabella Rossellini, Elias Koteas, Moni Moshonov, Julie Budd, David Cale, Nick Gillie, Carmen M. Herlihy, Samantha Ivers, Anne Joyce, Mari Koda, RJ Konner, Evan Lewis, Marion McCorry, John Ortiz, David Ross, Jeanine Serralles, Jose Edwin Soto, Uzimann, Mark Vincent, Craig Walker
Director: James Gray
“We Own the Night,” “The Yards,” “Little Odessa”
Producer: 2929 Productions, Marc Butan, Mark Cuban, Donna Gigliotti, James Gray, Anthony Katagas, Agnès Mentre, Couper Samuelson, Mike Upton, Todd Wagner
Distributor: 2929 Productions

The film starts out with the title character played by Joaquin Phoenix as a depressed young photographer on the brink of suicide, taking a walk with his dry cleaning in hand onto the Sheepshead Bay creek in Brooklyn, where he plunges into the water. He changes his mind and walks back to his parents apartment soaking wet where he lives with his mother and father, this is where we learn Leonard has tried this kind of thing before.

This is director James Gray’s third collaboration with Phoenix, as they had worked together on “The Yards,” and “We Own The Night,” where Phoenix has consistently displayed his acting chops. The film is depressing as is Joaquin, in the title role. Vinessa Shaw, who is well known in the indi film genre, is subtle but strong in the character of Sandra who wants to be there and be Leonard’s “savior.” Enter Academy award winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow, as Michelle a girl who loves her fun, but uses it to mask the pain of a going nowhere relationship with a married man, some drug use and lots of partying.

The tangled web they weave begins to get even more tangled, and Leonard is so desperately sad that his pain is palpable, and you want to scream at him and snap him out of his distress, he seems to be going nowhere fast emotionally, personally, or any other way…

The film is sad and a bit dark, the characters are played flawlessly by all involved, with Oscar Award nominee Phoenix and Oscar winner Paltrow not disappointing in there acting abilities as is Shaw playing the sweet girl who wants to change Leonard’s life just by loving him.

There is a sex scene between Paltrow and Phoenix standing in an alley that shows the desperation between both characters, who obviously are missing something they’re looking for in this kind of relationship leading them to think they’re in love, but, soon after, reality sets in, and, as Leonard is also having sexual relations with Sandra (Shaw), he seems to be looking for some kind of happiness he’ll never find.

The movie is well filmed and well directed. The characters are deep and intense, and I felt drawn in by their circumstances, and I wanted to help by offering a Savior who will take them out of that depression they seem to be suffering from. God tells us in Psalm 29:5b, “His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.”

Sandra is the only one who gets it, as she seems to realize that love covers a multitude of sins. 1 Corinthians 13 reads, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.”

I would not take young kids, nor teens, to see this film and would not watch it if sexual scenes make you feel uncomfortable. Also, there is mild drug use and suggestive dancing involved. God is very specific about sex outside of marriage and clear on the role of men and women engaging in such actions. Romans 12:1 pleads, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God. Also our lives are precious to our Creator and suicide is not in His plan for us, He gave us life.” Jeremiah 1:5 tells us, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you, I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” Of course, we’re not all going to be prophets; what that means is that when we were created, God already had a plan for each of us, so suicide is never the answer.

This film, while artistically gifted in all areas of filmmaking, sends a message that we are to look everywhere but to God for the answers to life.

Violence: Minor / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Moderate

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:


Negative—I paid money to see this movie because it had great reviews from rotten_tomatoes, and I didn’t see anything “offensive” written from other Christians—so I thought it would be ok.

I was wrong. Many people argue the so-called “love” between the two protagonists is wonderful, but I didn’t see the type of romantic love our Bible teaches us.

First of all, the leading female is a drug addict who is having an affair with a married man. The guy who is in love with her lies to his parents and pretends to be in love with another woman (misleading her and her family).

The leading man and woman share some kind of “emotional connection,” but I don’t think it’s the type of relationship Jesus wants us to have with the opposite sex. The guy decides to “run away” with the girl to San Francisco, leaving his family and his “phony girlfriend” without a warning. (Satan is the father of lies). Second of all, the girl is such an emotional roller coaster, she changes her mind from “I love you” to “I can’t love” without moment’s hesitation. It appears their “love” was just impulsive, riding on the ups and downs of the waves of emotions—which is the opposite of what our Bible teaches us.

When the guy is rejected by the girl (her married boyfriend has decided to leave his wife and son for her—bravo!), instead of tucking his tail between his legs and admitting to his family he doesn’t want to date the other woman, he uses the ring he bought for his so-called “soulmate” and gives it to the girl he never had feelings to begin with! What kind of ending is this?? What kind of marriage will this turn into?
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 2
—Joan Anne E., age 27 (USA)
Movie Critics
…harking back to an older, artistically more conservative film tradition of lush, earnest melodrama. … modest in scale, but the feelings that run through it are large and intense. …
—A.O. Scott, The New York Times
…Phoenix is at his best with Paltrow’s bruised sparrow of a girl; he’s desperate to take care of her when he can’t even take care of himself. She is one of those actresses who understands the power of a look… Gray uses the prism of longing and disappointment to examine the debris left behind by troubled romances. …
—Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times
…“Two Lovers” is subtle and gripping… This is an inspired performance by a superb actor in an elegantly grave romantic drama. …
—Joe Morgenstern, The Wall Street Journal
…A throwback to the days when love in the movies involved the mind as well as the heart. … an old-fashioned love story in which the melodramatic trapdoors of shock and surprise never open. … The story asks the eternal question of whether it’s wiser to pursue the one you love or turn to the one who loves you. …
—Ray Bennet, The Hollywood Reporter
…5 out of 6 stars… beautifully modulated script… Finally, the year’s first serious American movie.
—Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out New York
…“A-” …“Two Lovers” left me hoping that Phoenix, who has announced his retirement from acting, comes to realize that may be the worst decision he has ever made.
—Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly