Fresh from scoring a Golden Globes-nomination for Best Motion Picture – International Feature, ‘Two of Us‘ (otherwise known as ‘Deux’) has won a series of international awards while cruising the festival circuit. This delicate love story is Filippo Meneghetti‘s feature debut, and tells the story of Nina (Barbara Sukowa) and Madeleine (Martine Chevallier). These two women have been dating for quite some time, hiding it from Madeleine’s family who still think they’re just neighbours in the same apartment building. Madly in love, these two lovebirds don’t have a care in the world, until Madeleine falls ill and unwillingly gets separated from Nina, who won’t give up on the love of her life.
Nothing brand new is brought the table in Meneghetti’s film. Queer films have become more mainstream with the success of films such as ‘Call Me By Your Name‘ and ‘Moonlight‘. ‘Two of Us‘ puts a spotlight on a completely different issue, which is the acceptance of two women who have lived a life through the “heteronormative” standards that have been laid upon them by society, moving on and finding love all over again. As seen in this film, relatives still make it seem as some sort of betrayal towards those that have been part of most of their lives, not knowing about this new beginning.
The film is pretty easy to digest and quite simple in its execution. Nina and Madeleine live their truth in secret, but because of Madeleine’s seizure, this perfect little bubble is bursting in slow motion, and we witness Nina slowly crumbling down when her entire life gets thrown out of the window. She fights back as much as she can, but she can’t face the truth that nothing will ever exactly be the same as it used to be.
The realistic tone of Meneghetti’s film is often raw and de-romanticized to expose the ugliness that lurks around the corner. It’s especially Madeleine’s adult children and care taker who showcase vile behaviour, disgustingly exploiting the vegetative state of this woman who can no longer speak her mind even if she would want to. The actors all do a fine job, although I felt a bit of a disconnect with their personalities in general. This made ‘Two of Us‘ not always a pleasant viewing experience, even though the film is definitely worth checking out.
There’s a great sense of pride and triumphant love being translated from script to screen. ‘Deux‘ is probably one of France’s strongest awards contenders in quite some time, leaving the audience in a state of disbelief while entrancing them with the pure love that’s being shown amid a life turned upside down.
Review – ‘Two of Us’
Reviewed online (screener provided by Magnolia Pictures), January 24, 2021. Rating: M. Running time: 99 min.
PRODUCTION: (USA) A Magnolia Pictures release of a Paprika Films production. Producers: Laurent Baujard, Pierre-Emmanuel Fleurantin.
CREW: Director: Filippo Meneghetti. Screenplay: Malysone Bovorasmy, Filippo Meneghetti, Florence Vignon. Cinematography: Aurélien Marra. Editing: Ronan Tronchot. Score: Michele Menini.
CAST: Barbara Sukowa, Martine Chevallier, Léa Drucker, Jérôme Varanfrain, Muriel Bénazéraf, Augustin Reyes, Hervé Sogne, Stéphane Robles, Eugénie Anselin.