Two of Us, a story of forbidden love, hopes to represent France at the Oscars

After the huge win at the Oscars last year by Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite, there is a lot of interest in the Best Foreign Feature category. Two of Us, the representative from France this year, arrives in the states on February 5th and tells the story of two older women who are finally ready to live in their truth.

There was some controversy last year when France did not submit the lesbian love story Portrait of a Lady on Fire for the Oscars so this may be a bit of a correction on their part. Portrait of a Lady on Fire was one of my top 3 films last year so I highly recommend it if you haven’t seen it yet but let’s get back to the topic at hand.

The story behind Two of Us is simple so I will do my best to tell you what to expect without spoiling it. Nina (played by Barbara Sukowa), and Madeleine (played by Martine Chevallier) are two old “friends” who are secretly planning to run off together. Nina has always been single but Madeleine had a husband who has since passed away and she has two adult children.

For Nina, the choice is easy. They no longer have to sneak around and can finally be together, but for Madeleine, it’s a bit more difficult. She struggles with the idea of telling her children that she’s in love with a woman and has been for decades. She struggles to tell them that she wants to sell their home to help finance her relocation as well.

Two of Us is a hard lesson on living the life you want while you still can

Her hesitation upsets Nina and this causes some friction for the pair but before it can be resolved, disaster strikes when Madeleine falls seriously ill. Now Nina is left on the outside as Madeleine’s children control her life and her health is in question. Will the pair get the opportunity to live the lives that have already been on hold for so long or will they have missed their last chance?

Two of Us

Martine Chevallier in TWO OF US, a Magnolia Pictures release. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.

How good is Two of Us?

The story was already good when it was a story of two older women trying to run away together and live the lives they’ve been putting off. When we realize that Madeleine has children that she hasn’t come out to, this adds a nice dramatic layer to the story. When you then bring in the health issues the drama is taken to its highest peak.

You can’t help but feel the helplessness in both women. When Madeleine falls ill, she is unable to speak and has issues with movement so she’s unable to communicate initially. People are talking about her in front of her and she has almost no way to acknowledge what is being said. For Nina, she has waited to be with Madeliene for so long and now she may never get the chance.

The illness is difficult, but it wouldn’t have been as bad if their love wasn’t still a secret. This puts Nina in a situation where she has to make excuses to hang around and check in on Madeliene which causes other issues.

Two of Us did not quite get to me the way that Portrait of a Lady on Fire did but it is a beautiful story. The film checks a lot of boxes between being a lesbian love story and a love story with an older couple. It may lack that one big dramatic scene but it has several big moments that you will feel.

Overall, Two of Us is a good movie. I don’t know if it will end up making the cut for a nomination but it was well worth the watch.

Important Note

Just in case you weren’t aware, the Oscars have been pushed back to April 25, 2021 (originally scheduled for Feb. 28) and the Academy will consider films released from Jan. 1, 2020, through Feb. 28, 2021. This is why you will see several Oscar-contending films released over the course of the next month.

Two of Us will have a limited release on Feb. 5, 2021. Catch it if you get the chance.