The modern day romance Two Lovers and a Bear plays out in the frigid Arctic Circle showing a period in their lives that gets out of control. Directed and written by Kim Nguyen who’s not a stranger to shooting in exotic settings, makes use of the snow laden wind swept mountains, valleys and mini towns that add a lot of visual text to the plot. He controls his cinematography keeping shots tight so his audience can feel the chemistry between his two main characters. The film has been released on DVD and Digital HD.
When we come into the story the love relationship between Roman (Dane DeHaan) and Lucy (Tatiana Maslany) has been going on for some time. In fact they are at the point beyond the budding stage, relying on each other for strength and physical needs. Both have hidden past psychological damages that are getting more advanced and interfering with their bonding.
Their relationship is about to shatter when Lucy informs Roman that she must leave the Artic due to an encounter with a stalker that has caught up with her. She has enrolled in a college in the South where they originally met. Roman has issues with her decision, not wanting to force an encounter with his father who is at the center of his depression. Distraught, Roman finds himself wanting to end it all between them. But, a last minute reconciliation takes them on a dangerous trip into the Arctic.
The film goes on from there after the characters have been fleshed out and we find out where the two lovers stand. Nguyen then starts to “muddy the waters” pressing the issue between the two. He inserts a polar bear as Roman’s conscience that’s being controlled by a higher power. It’s a chancy ploy bringing in a powerful beast to guide Roman, but for me it turns the plot cartoonish. As for Lucy, there’s a lot of psychological damage going on and with the two being equally mentally emotional it’s a lot to take in for one movie.
The performances by DeHaan and Maslany are very good however, saving the film from losing its entertainment value. Their chemistry on the screen feels real, especially Maslany’s Lucy, as she tries to convince Roman that their love together is more powerful than his past. Using her sensuality as a “drug”, she tries to extract him from his wounded past.
DeHaan depicts the typical macho guy in Roman who thinks he can persuade Lucy to change her mind by going off on a drinking binge. Nguyen leads his actor a little over the top however, and this weakens the character rather than make him more irresistible to Lucy. The emotional outbreak hints however, that the two are headed for disaster and clouds their performances.
The awesome cinematography of the snow filled cascading mountains, huge icy lakes, and winter activities are a huge reason to see the film. Wide shots give the audience a feel of the expansiveness of the Arctic wilderness, while the tight shots of the two lovers turn up the heat swirling their chemistry and depicting a sizzling romance.
Two Lovers and a Bear has been rated R by the MPAA for language, some sexuality/nudity and brief drug use. Adults should watch the film before allowing immature teens to see the movie.
FINAL ANALYSIS: A heated romance that has a lot of speed bumps.
Specifications and additional video information:
Cast: Dane DeHaan, Tatiana Maslany, John Ralston, Kakki Peter, Gordon Pinsent.
Director and writer: Kim Nguyen
MPAA Rating: Rated R for language, some sexuality/nudity and brief drug use
Genre: Drama, Romance
Running Time: 1 hr. 36 min.
Video Release Date: February 7, 2017
Original Theatrical Release Date: December 16, 2016
Reviewed Format: DVD
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Widescreen, 16:9, Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, also CC
Number of Discs: 1 Disc + HD Download
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment