Two of Us (2021) review and summary

I will carefully walk through the details of the plot. Madeleine and Nina are older women who are passionately in love. On its own, that’s refreshing, as we rarely see this type of exciting lust and the joy of living together on anyone past a certain age on screen. The two women live opposite each other, the two apartments serving as love nests. After much time in this arrangement, the duo are ready to consolidate their living quarters by selling their respective apartments and moving from France to Rome, the place where they first met. Nina appears to be a free agent, but Madeleine is a widow with two grown children, Anne (Léa Drucker from “Custody”) and Frédéric (Jérôme Varanfrain), and a grandson Théo (Augustin Reyes). None of them know Nina. To them, she’s just Mrs. Dorn across the room.

While Anne is close to her mother, Frédéric is distant, cold and often mean to Madeleine. He accuses him of having deceived the father whom he considers a saint. Whether he has proof is never explicitly stated; the notion alone is enough to make him antagonistic enough to ruin Madeleine’s birthday party. This event was believed to coincide with Madeleine’s decision to end her relationship with Nina and reveal their subsequent move. However, Frederic’s animosity makes it difficult for her to deliver the news and, worse, gives her doubts about the move. Meneghetti and the director of photography Aurélien Marra shoot the scene where Nina realizes that Madeleine does not intend to move by having the latter witness the revelation through a window behind her. It looks and feels lifted from a spy thriller.

This type of disappointing news usually serves as a plot element in every romance where the relationship is temporarily torn apart. However, “Two of Us” has a much larger bombshell of a plot development to drop immediately after its usual explosion scene. I won’t reveal what it is except to say that this kind of separation would prove insurmountable in a less promising film. Suddenly decisions are being made against the lovers’ will by people whose best intentions blind them to the palpable and painful desires of two women who clearly want to be together.

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