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‘Two of Us’ review: Intimate film that goes beyond love

France’s submission to the Oscars for Best International Feature.

Two of Us takes the romantic drama to a different place. Usually films dealing about romance tend to be about the young and hip. When the ages of the couple skew older, the story plays as comedy or an “aww, isn’t cute they still feel love at that age” kind of story. Director Filippo Meneghetti’s film is not a tale about the power of sex or of a new discovery. It is the story of a decades old relationship that is in danger of falling apart.

Nina and Madeline are neighbors that have been in love for decades. The two have managed to hide this from everyone. The two have finally decided to tell their families about the affair and move to Rome to live out their lives. Madeline is unable to tell her adult children or commit to getting a place together, leaving Nina understandably upset.

Two of Us sets up a familiar premise. Though the two are retired, the story seems to be one that will teach how love heals all wounds. While there is some of that, the film goes much further. The narrative also deals with the impact of lies and how people deal with grief. This is mainly seen through Nina who handles much of the film’s heavy lifting.

As things progress, it will be hard for audiences to not become frustrated. This is intentional as the film sets up scenes that are impactful. Two of Us uses great camerawork and seemingly emotionally detached moments to bring meaning to its story. As Nina becomes more desperate, the love between the two also becomes more apparent.

Two of Us does have pacing issues. In some moments, Meneghetti is willing to let the camera linger and draw out the full potential of a scene. At other times, the movie moves at a brisk pace leaving some ideas underdeveloped. The film is made for large melodramatic moments. This never happens giving the tale of the two lovers a feeling of intimacy that some will mistake for coldness. Two of Us is an intelligent movie that does not need grand gestures to get its message across.

Two of Us opens February 5

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