Two of Us, from director Filippo Meneghetti, defies genre expectations. On the surface, it’s a story about an elderly couple fighting to stay together, but there’s so much more going on, Two of Us is also a tense psychological thriller and a beautifully poignant love story rolled into one.
Nina (Barbara Sukowa) and Madeleine (Martine Chevallier) have lived on the same floor for three years, and at a glance, they seem like “nosy” neighbours. \But really, they’re passionate lovers planning a move to Rome. Madeleine is struggling to come out to her family, which consists of a daughter, and grandson. Nina wants Madeleine to rip the band-aid off already, consequences be damned.
A series of unfortunate events befall the closeted couple, and Nina must make a number of difficult decisions for both of them. Complicating matters, a new antagonist arrives on the scene (a cold-hearted villain to rival Nurse Ratched) and starts meddling: a live-in caregiver named Muriel who prefers blackmail over providing actual care, and she’s someone that you will love to hate.
As baby boomers transition into elder care, more situations involving LGBTQ seniors will arise and require appropriate and sensitive accommodations. Allowing same-sex partners to cohabitate and receive protection from discrimination should be on top of the list. Two of Us provides a valuable lesson about what could go wrong when not providing appropriate accommodations. It also helps that we’re taught this lesson by two formidable performers at the top of their game.
To pigeon-hole this film as an LGBTQ title, or as a movie about seniors, is doing it a disservice. Two of Us is a highlight the most epic of love stories: the kind that wasn’t and isn’t recognized; a love story which was forced to blossom in the dusty recesses of treasured photographs, hopes, and dreams yet came to fruition. Regardless of sexuality, we can all relate to such a story. A love as fundamental as the one Nina and Barbara share is the kind of love worth treasuring.