Outfest 2020: Longtime lovers fight to be together in "Two of Us"
It's clear from the first moments of Two of Us (Deux) that Nina (Barbara Sukowa) and Madeleine (Martine Chevallier) are passionately in love. The two older women can't keep their hands off each other and spend their days dreaming of packing it all up and retiring to Rome. There's only one thing stopping them: Madeline's family who do not know about their decades-long love affair. Madeleine was married and had two children while secretly involved with Nina. With her husband passed, Madeleine and Nina have apartments right across from each other, where they come and go as they please. Now that Madeleine's children are grown with families of their own, she and Nina decide the time is right to finally tell them. However, shortly after Madeleine chickens out on telling the family, she suffers a stroke that leaves her without being able to speak, and Nina out in the cold. As Nina tries to find ways to be near her love, she hits roadblocks both unintentional and deliberate.
Both Sukowa and Chevallier are renowned actresses and are absolutely phenomenal in this film. From their playful, intimate banter, to desperate declarations of love and need, both spoken and non-verbal, the two actors deliver knock out performances that must be seen. This is director/writer Filippo Meneghetti's first full-length feature, but you would never know from his delicate touch and beautiful visuals, which allow the actors to truly shine.
We so rarely get to see older LGBTQ+ characters on film, let alone as red hot lovers, that Two of Us is a groundbreaker in that respect. There may be times that the film reminds the viewer of the same tragedies and tropes that we've been subjected to in real life (closeted existence, internal homophobia, disconnection and lack of support from family) but that's far from the only story that Two of Us has to tell.