The first feature from director Filippo Meneghetti, follows pensioners Nina (Barbara Sukowa) and Madeleine (Martine Chevallier) who have hidden their deep and passionate love for many decades, but their bond is put to the test when their privacy becomes almost non-existent.
Nina and Madeleine live a quiet life, they’re still madly in love with each other after all these years but Madeleine has never told her children of their relationship, and when she has a stroke and is left unable to speak, the family don’t understand why the woman who they think is simply a neighbour is trying to be so involved. It has to be said firstly, that you should not be fooled into thinking this is just a simple drama because it explores the relationship of two elderly lesbians, it is far from it. It’s quite possible that a film of this genre, with family struggles and relationship issues, has never been this unexpectedly intense.
Two of Us pulls you to the edge of your seat and leaves you holding your breath to find out what will happen with these two women, it’s so heart-breaking that they can’t be together, you’re on tenterhooks to find out if they’ll finally re-unite. It’s mesmerising to watch, it’s paced so perfectly that as soon as tragedy strikes and Nina is unable to be close to the woman she loves, you’re devastated by the separation because you can’t resist investing in the story. It sounds like a relatively uncomplicated plot but once it starts to unravel you realise there’s so much more to it, of course that doesn’t mean ridiculous twists and turns but the stakes are continuously raised throughout. Having something taken from you but left just within reach is blindly infuriating and completely devastating and every aspect of the film encapsulates that in a beautiful way.
It’s exquisitely intimate, even to the extent of being slightly haunting and its anchored by two outstanding performances from Sukowa and Chevallier. These two actresses give performances worthy of any award you can name and it’s a crying shame that they probably won’t get that opportunity. The sheer amount of times within 95-minutes that they break your heart is incredible and it’s nurtured with direction and cinematography that keeps its focus, it’s graceful and elegant, it’s not rushed or over edited or trying to make itself glamorous, it feels real and everyday which is exactly what was needed. Both actresses hand you these characters that are so relatable and charming that you can’t help but love them, each role is a very different challenge, Sukowa’s emotions have to be very on the surface while Chevallier has to show so much while unable to do much at all, but they’re perfectly balanced and there’s no fault to be found.
Two of Us is a film that will stay with you because not only is it an incredible achievement as a first feature from Meneghetti, it leaves you speechless, heart-broken, humbled and contented. Its intensity is exceptional, the story is portrayed with sheer perfection and it will be one of the most unexpected delights that you’ll ever come across.