TIFF 2016: Our Review of ‘Two Lovers and a Bear’

Posted in Festival Coverage, Movies, TIFF 2016 by - September 08, 2016
TIFF 2016: Our Review of ‘Two Lovers and a Bear’

Special Presentations

 

The odd and the unstable combine in Two Lovers and a Bear, a quirkily depressing romantic drama set in a fitting cold expanse.

The small town of Apex, Nunavut (read: way up North), a literal and figurative escape, finds Lucy (Tatiana Maslany) and Roman (Dane Dehaan) struggling to exorcise trauma from their past while coping with present day problems. Those include socialization, drinking, maybe sex, and lots of trauma.

Their fragile, frigid existence is disrupted when Lucy informs Roman she’s heading south for school; he doesn’t take it well, so she joins him on a downward spiral that is at times beautiful but always haunting. Director Kim Nguyen expertly balances whimsy with melancholy, following these two fated friends as they take to snowmobiles and travel a desolate landscape.

The humour that exists punctuates something more morbid and tragic – we first meet Roman as he escorts a dead body out of town; here are logistics you don’t often think about. By effectively establishing these two characters as passionate yet off, tension exists in every scene. It’s not quite clear what will happen next, but the possibility that anything can is chilling.

DeHaan and Maslany offer intense, intimate performances – other characters come and go, but it’s clear these ancillary figures exist in a more tangible world. For Roman and Lucy, we rise and fall with their loves and anxieties.They descend into the wilderness, a trip into the void, with desperate, even futile attempts to conquer, shed, and flee the past.

 

Special Presentations

Tuesday, Sep 13 6:30pm VSR

Wednesday, Sep 14 3:00 Ryerson

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