This weekend sees the UK release of the French LGBTQ+ drama, Two of Us (aka Deux). The movie – directed by Filippo Meneghetti – stars Barbara Sukowa, Martine Chevallier, and Léa Drucker, and tells the story of two same-sex lovers in their 70s, who find their relationship tested when one of them suffers illness.
In the movie, Nina and Madeleine are a couple. They laugh, dance, care for each other deeply, and have grand plans to move away from their apartments in France, to start a new life together in Rome.
But their relationship is a secret. Madeleine has two children, and has never felt comfortable enough to reveal the truth about her sexuality – leaving her son and daughter to believe that Nina is simply a good friend who lives across the hallway.
Then one night, Madeleine suffers a stroke and is rushed to hospital. In the days that follow, she returns to her apartment, but is a shell of her former self, and requires around the clock care.
Nina is desperate to be there for Madeleine, but with no one aware of the true nature of their relationship, she finds herself standing on the side-lines. In order to remain a consistent presence in her partner’s life, Nina has to find ways to interact with Madeleine, even if it means breaking into her apartment at night just to say hello.
Going into Two of Us I knew very little about the movie. I had watched the trailer, and was intrigued by the premise, but I figured that I knew exactly how the story would play out.
As it turned out, the movie was not as straight forward as I expected. I presumed the film would be 90 minutes of a family feud, with two lovers caught in the middle. In reality, it is largely a movie in which one character goes to great lengths to ensure their partner doesn’t drift away from them.
The film looks at how the course of a relationship can be dramatically altered over night, and how best laid plans come and go. The story makes it clear that nothing is guaranteed and it is a reminder that we should all enjoy what we have when we have it.
Two of Us is touching, at times heart-breaking, and very powerful. The film explores the strength of love, the fragility of life, and the problems that some members of the LGBTQ+ community can face when a relationship is not-so easily recognised.
The movie also shines the spotlight on LGBTQ+ seniors – a section of the community who are often overlooked in movies. So many queer films focus on young lovers, so it is refreshing to see two older ladies take centre stage.
Love and sex don’t just dry up once you hit a certain age, so it is good to see this reflected on screen. It seems even more important to see it in queer cinema, which tends to focus heavily on young male characters.
What makes this film truly shine is the relationship between the central leads, which is perfectly played. There is a warmth and tenderness here, and a real connection between Barbara Sukowa and Marine Chevallier, which comes across in both performances.
This is some strong casting, and if one half of this partnership didn’t work so well, the whole thing would have fallen apart. However, it should be noted that while this film is set out as a two-hander, this is ultimately Sukowa’s movie, as she is given the lion’s share of the material.
Nina is put through the emotional wringer, and Sukowa gets to play this out masterfully. Every choice she makes seems justifiable, even though some decisions are questionable, and this just goes to demonstrate how believable the actress is in this role.
Two of Us is an excellent movie; it looks great, sounds good, and drives home an important message. With this film, Filippo Meneghetti has delivered a tale that I didn’t know I needed to see, but I am glad that I got to watch it.
If you wish to check out the film (and you should), Two of Us is available in select cinemas from today or can be watched through digital video-on-demand platforms, including iTunes, Amazon, and Peccadillo Pictures. A DVD and Blu-ray release will follow in August.