Film Review: Two of Us (2019)

STUDIO: Magnolia | DIRECTOR: Filippo Meneghetti | CAST: Barbara Sukowa, Martine Chevallier, Léa Drucker, Jérôme Varanfrain, Muriel Bénazéraf
ON DEMAND RELEASE: May 18, 2021; RENTAL: $6.99
SPECS: NR | 99 min. | Drama romance | French with English subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie 

Martine Chevallier (l.) and Barbara Sukowa in Two of Us.

In Two of Us, Italian-born writer/director Filippo Meneghetti’s debut feature, Martine Chevallier and Barbara Sukowa (Atomic Blonde) are Mado and Nina, aging neighbors who live in adjacent apartments. The two are more than just casual friends, though—they’re lovers who have been together for decades, a secret that nobody knows, particularly not Mado’s dutiful adult daughter (Léa Drucker). The two older women are on the verge of making a long-gestating move from France to Rome, but their plan is derailed when Mado suffers a debilitating stroke and her children hire a caregiver. That’s followed by readying to move her into a nursing home, not considering Nina to be anything more than an overly concerned neighbor. And Mado’s family isn’t interested in hearing Nina’s caretaking ideas, nor are they aware of her feelings and rising anger when it comes to the care of her secret lover—a hidden passion which on the brink of being revealed.

The performances of Two of Us’s leading ladies are exemplary, both narratively and emotionally, with every gesture and familiar glance hinting at the shared history the two have secretly enjoyed. While Ms. Chevallier might have the trickier role, as she’s relegated to only her eyes and some shuffling motions after having her stroke, it’s the mighty Ms. Sukowa who brings it on as a determined woman whose wrath is unleashed when she’s denied the opportunity to care for her lover. It’s the kind of focused energy that Sukowa exhibited in Fassbinder’s Lola (1981) four decades ago. Or maybe it’s just a reflection of young filmmaker Meneghetti’s own talents and drive.

Rent Two of Us

About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.