Review: Two Lovers and a Bear

Tatiana Maslany and Dane DeHaan in Two Lovers and a Bear

Two Lovers and a Bear is an odd indie from Canada starring Tatiana Maslany and Dane DeHaan as Lucy and Roman, the two lovers. The bear is, well, a bear.

The bear talks to Roman. Yeah. With the voice of Gordon Pinsent. But I’m getting ahead of myself with that revelation.

Lucy and Roman live in a village near the North Pole. They’ve literally run to the end of the earth trying to escape their demons. Predictably, their demons travel with them.

Both were abused by their fathers. They found each other in this blazing white land of ice and snow. They make each other feel safe. Lucy has vivid nightmares, but otherwise they live a normal village life. They ice fish, they enjoy snowmobile races, they make a living, they have sex.

Then Lucy gets word that she’s been accepted into a biology program somewhere “down south.” South isn’t explained – it could be Toronto or anywhere for all we know. She asks Roman to go with her. He says no.

Roman’s wise bear friend tries to talk sense to him, but he doesn’t listen.

At the thought of being without Lucy, Roman gets so drunk he has to be hospitalized. Lucy spends all the money she would have used to get to her college for a plane ticket to visit him in the hospital.

They decide to go south together to get Lucy to her college. They will take their snowmobiles, ride across miles of ice and snow, cross the mountains, and get where they’re going. Would sensible residents of the far north make a plan like this?

They load up and head out. A blizzard approaches. Somewhat miraculously they are told where to take shelter. If they’d stayed there like sensible residents of the far north the ending might have been different. But another of Lucy’s nightmares drives them out into the blizzard.

To summarize, two badly damaged people make a series of bad decisions while surrounded by sub zero wilderness. I think you can do the math from there.

Two Lovers and a Bear was partly love story, partly magical realism, partly adventure. The vast and beautiful icy landscape was a character as much as the two actors. Lucy and Roman drag you with them into their frozen wilderness of the soul. It isn’t a great movie, but it hooks you anyway. Tatiana Maslany is excellent – she looked at home in the snow.

Two Lovers and a Bear was written and directed by Kim Nguyen. The 2016 film is currently on Netflix and possibly other streaming services.

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