Hoopla Film Recommendation: Two Lovers

Hi again; this is Biagio from the Yonkers Public Library’s Will branch, and here is a film that I recommend you check out on our free movie streaming service Hoopla: Two Lovers.    

Hoopla app logoFirst, a little bit about Hoopla.  Hoopla, like Netflix or Hulu,  is a streaming video service that would normally charge subscribers a monthly fee. However, YPL makes this service available to its cardholders for free! Hoopla allows you to borrow movies, music, audiobooks, ebooks, comics, and TV shows to enjoy on your computer, tablet, or phone – and even your TV! With no waiting, titles can be streamed immediately, or downloaded to phones or tablets for offline enjoyment later. There are hundreds of thousands of titles to choose from, with more being added daily. Hoopla is like having your public library at your fingertips. Anytime. Anywhere. 

Here is a link to a quick sign-up tutorial. Please note that when signing up for a Hoopla account, you will need to provide an email address and create a password. When selecting your library, please select “Westchester Library System” (not Yonkers Public Library) and enter your YPL library card barcode and PIN. You can also download the App for iPhone & iPad or the App for Android.

Like my last post on the film Mademoiselle Chambon, this too is a film about human longing, perhaps even more so. James Gray, the writer and director of Two Lovers,  said the following about his film: ” At its core, I don’t think Two Lovers is a love story.  I think it’s about this young man dealing with loneliness.  This is what I was trying to express and what made the film personal to me.  The idea that you wake up at 4 am and you realize that you are all alone in the world. We are always trying to battle loneliness.  That we don’t fit in at one point or another.”

Leonard, played by Joaquin Phoenix, has moved back to his parents’ apartment after a failed suicide attempt  over the ending of his engagement to a woman. His parents are continually worried that he will try it again. He faces mental illness, takes antidepressants, and Gray has made sure to highlight Leonard’s feeling of isolation throughout the film.  

Leonard’s parents set him up with Sandra, the daughter of a friend to the family.  Sandra actually tells him, “I wanted to meet you.  I saw you at your parents’ store, and you were asking your mother to dance with you.  It was very cute.”  I enjoy her honesty here. She’s showing her cards, being true to herself while remaining vulnerable, just so she can get to know Leonard.

Leonard is interested in Sandra as well, but he becomes a bit uninterested towards her once he meets Michelle (Gwyneth Paltrow).  When they meet, you really see Leonard come alive!  He almost tries too hard to connect with her. There is a problem, though: Michelle is enamored with a rich married man, and unlike Sandra, she has a very problematic life and is in a messy situation.  Leonard’s just setting himself up to get his heart broken. 

I want to share one of my favorite scenes in the movie. I’ll leave a link to the scene here. It’s with Leonard and his mother (Isabella Rossellini)  towards the end of the film.  Leonard tells her that he is happy, and his mother is relieved and overjoyed to hear it.  Don’t we all want to be happy?  And wouldn’t we all want that for our children?

Is the ending in fact a happy one for Leonard, though?….Well, you have to watch the film.  Gray says, “When it  comes to the ending  you are looking for the bitter and the sweet. Like life, it can contain beauty and pain at the same time.” 

I’ve seen Two Lovers  many times throughout the years, and I’m glad that it’s available on Hoopla.  It’s a film that resonates with me. I feel an affinity towards Leonard.  I think it’s a great film that perhaps fell under the radar.

By the way, this film is very loosely based on another fantastic film ,rom 1957 called Le Notti Bianche (White Nights), starring famous Italian actor Marcello Mastroianni, which in turn is based on a short story by Fyodor Dostoevsky called White Nights. Try catching those somewhere if you can. Both carry the same themes as this film, Two Lovers.