Two of Us (Deux) tells the story of two elder lesbians, still passionately in love after 20 years together. This film is the official submission of France for the ‘Best International Feature Film’ category of the 93rd Academy Awards. It is available for rent on Prime Video.
Two of Us (Deux) stars Barbara Sukowa as Nina and Martine Chevallier as Mado. Mado was married and has two grown children that she’s never come out to. They are Anne (Léa Drucker) and Fred (Jérôme Varanfrain).
The opening scene is a metaphor for what is to come. Nina watches Mado at the mirror. Overcome with love and longing and lust, Mado goes to Nina and begins kissing her. Soon they are locked in an embrace up against the wall of the dark room (I’ll call it a closet to be super explicit) as an empty bed sits in the light next to them.
Nina and Mado own two apartments on the top floor of a building. They live in Mado’s apartment. Nina’s toothbrush is in Mado’s bathroom. In Nina’s apartment the bed isn’t made and the refrigerator isn’t turned on. The only time that apartment is used is when Nina hides out there while Mado’s kids visit.
They plan to sell and move to Rome, where they can live openly. Before that can happen Mado has a stroke.
Many scenes in this film were beautifully shot, but the scene where Nina discovers Mado stricken is particularly powerful. We watch a pan burning on the stove, smoke roiling and nearly afire. The camera stays fixed on the stove as Nina comes in. She kneels on the floor and we realize where Mado is. Then Nina calls for an ambulance and loses all control over her relationship with the woman she loves as the ambulance drives away.
The remainder of the film is the struggle Nina goes through to be with Mado and take care of her. It’s part spy thriller as she peeks through peep holes and listens to conversations while hiding behind a shower curtain. We often look at scenes from outside a window, or in a reflection.
Nina’s fierce insistence to anyone who will listen that Mado belongs with her keeps her moving. There’s suspense and trouble from unexpected places.
Nina struggles with the children, the hired caretaker, the doctors and nurses. Mado can’t speak, but she can reach, she can look, she can cling to Nina. She responds to music, especially the Italian pop song that is their song.
Will Anne let the truth penetrate her homophobia? Will the two lovers be together again?
I applaud any film that shows the love between elders as passionate and beautiful – as vital as the love of anyone younger. I applaud any film with elders having sex. And I applaud because in this film the loving and sexy elders are both women.
Both principal actors gave outstanding performances. Barbara Sukowa had more action and emotional weight to express. But both deserve praise.
Here’s a preview.
I hope you’ll consider watching this lovely film.