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Review: 'Two Lovers'

A moody love triangle plays out between Joaquin Phoenix, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Vinessa Shaw.

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Joaquin Phoenix and Vinessa Shaw star in Two Lovers.

Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

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James Gray, who directed and co-wrote "Two Lovers," has a marvelously fluid camera style and a gift for bringing out the unexpected in his actors. He has yet to make a movie worthy of his talent – "Little Odessa" probably comes the closest – and this one is no exception. Joaquin Phoenix plays Leonard, a moody, bipolar guy who lives with his parents in Brighton Beach and becomes entangled with two women, the unstable Michelle (Gwyneth Paltrow) and Sandra (Vinessa Shaw), the archetypal nice Jewish girl. The playing out of this triangle, which owes something to Dostoyevsky's "White Nights," is not always believable, but the film has a moody expressiveness that stays with you. Grade: B (Rated R for language, some sexuality and brief drug use.)