VOD film review: Two of Us
Ivan | On 17, Jul 2021
Director: Filippo Meneghetti
Cast: Barbara Sukowa, Martine Chevallier
“I will follow him, follow him where he may go…” The words of that Peggy March classic are perhaps best known to modern generations for being sung by Whoopi Goldberg in Sister Act. But the catchy declaration of devotion and commitment gets a moving new meaning thanks to the Two of Us, a film about a sister act of a very different kind.
The film follows Nina (Barbara Sukowa) and Madeleine (Martine Chevallier), a devoted and loyal couple whose love is evident from the moment we first see them. The fact that they’re already in their seventies makes their bond even more powerful – they’ve been together for decades up until now, and clearly know each other intimately. And yet to the wider world they appear to be nothing but neighbours – not only because they literally live next to each other, but because they’ve kept their relationship a secret from their families.
For while they’ve been devoted to each other for as long as they can remember, Madeleine was also married. With her husband having passed away, she plans to come out to her grown-up children – Anne (Lea Drucker) and Frederic9 Jerome Varanfrain). But when she fails to do so, Nina snaps and gets angry, fed up after years of being hidden out of sight. That argument leads to Madeleine having a stroke.
What ensues is a delicate and skin-pricklingly awkward situation, as Madeleine’s kids flock to look after their mother as she recuperates – and become suspicious as to why Nina keeps loitering. When they get a carer to live with Madeleine and nurse her back to health, the result is a delightfully tense three-hander that’s riddled with tension, resentment, concern – and, yes, love.
All of this is handled beautifully by the cast, with Chevallier working wonders as Madeleine, imperceptibly conveying the torment, awareness and sadness of her predicament with barely a word or move. Sukowa, meanwhile, is superb as the obsessively loyal Nina, who spies through windows and stands threateningly on doorsteps, carrying so much intense emotion that you half expect her to tilt the film into Hitchcock territory.
Behind the camera, first-time helmer Filippo Meneghetti has a confident command of that twisting, gripping tone, veering from nervy to deeply heartfelt, and exploring everything from the way younger generations can dismiss the desires of older people to the staying power of a bond that lasts long before Peggy March took to the mic.