Film 2009 Special: 2 for the price of 1

Welcome to our discount extravaganza: two mini-reviews of recent movies for the price of one. This may well be your lucky day!

Seen in the cinema: January 2009
Score: 8/10
Why? Two Lovers, the most recent James Gray movie, is a “romantic drama about a bachelor torn between the family friend his parents wish he would marry and his beautiful but volatile new neighbour”. Joaquim Phoenix is quite good as the troubled bachelor, Gwyneth Paltrow is beautiful and volatile enough to be his neighbour.
The film was released in the Belgian cinemas on Christmas Eve 2008 and it’s a perfect time for this sort of movie. It’s heart-warming without getting too sickly sweet. Funnily enough, I’ve forgotten whether the movie has a happy ending or not, but I do remember the more painful episodes of the film. As briefly mentioned before, Phoenix is quite good in his role and Gray is a good director, even if he isn’t the most prolific person in the world: he debuted in 1994 with Little Odessa, took six years to direct another movie and then made his audience wait another seven years for another feature. Suddenly he seems to have gained some speed, there was only one year distance between We Own The Night and Two Lovers. And, lo and behold, his next movie is scheduled for 2010. Gray seems to have caught the Soderbergh virus.

Seen in the cinema: March 2009
Score: 7/10
Why? The film may have been overrated, but it’s hard to deny it’s a good movie. Kate Winslet is good and we can almost forgive director Stephen Daldry for adding Ralph Fiennes to the cast. A lot of people have drawn a lot of attention to the film’s subplot (Winslet’s character’s involvement with the Nazis), but there’s a lot more to this film than just that. There’s an illiterate woman who asks a young boy to read her stories. Years later, this relationship (just imagine how it would’ve been if it’d been a girl and an older man… can you imagine the outrage?) will prove to be pivotal when she is jailed for her involvement in World War Two.

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