January 26, 2017
Two Lovers and a Bear Canada
Showtimes: 6:30 & 8:20 pm
Director: Kim Nguyen
Cast: Tatiana Maslany, Dane DeHaan, Gordon Pinsent
Runtime: 96 minutes
Rating: 14A; scenes of nudity
“Kim Nguyen finds raw authenticity in his location, and in the volatile chemistry between his two stars.”—Brian D. Johnson, Maclean’s Magazine
Kim Nguyen’s Two Lovers and a Bear is no ordinary love story. The film unfolds in remote, snowbound Nunavut. The movie’s unique setting and tonal surprises helps create a refreshingly compelling and unpredictable tale.
The two lovers in question are Roman (Dane DeHaan) and Lucy (Tatiana Maslany), a pair of damaged twenty-somethings. Both are haunted by the memories of their fathers. The couple finds solace in each other’s company and in the refuge their isolated town provides. However, their relationship becomes strained when Lucy receives an acceptation letter to a biology degree that requires her to move “down south”, a notion which Roman initially recoils from.
To reconnect with each other and escape their personal demons, the pair set off on snowmobiles, heading ‘down south’ into Nunavit’s snowy expanses. But things take a turn when a large snowstorm forces the pair to take shelter inside a desolate bunker where Lucy becomes literally haunted by her past.
Both DeHaan and Maslany deliver emotionally-charged performances, exuding a convincing, deep connection. There’s a real rawness and intimacy to their sex scenes, which adds another layer of authenticity to their volatile relationship.
Nguyen composes a series of captivating, tonally-diverse sequences which keep events thrillingly unpredictable. The recurring surreal run-ins with a sarcastic talking polar bear (dryly voiced by Gordon Pinsent) generate humour in the most unexpected of ways. Jesse Zubot’s unsettling, adeptly varied score smoothly facilitates these changes in tone.
The film’s final image is a poignant, beautiful and completely fitting end to the couple’s tale. In Two Lovers and a Bear, Nguyen has crafted a surprising, touching and deeply resonant love story.