In Two Lovers and a Bear, Tatiana Maslany and Dane DeHaan continue to lead you to wonder if what you saw in them was a fluke or they just have had really bad taste in roles ever since.
With Lucy’s (Tatiana Maslany) memories of her father (John Ralston) haunting her, she wants far away from where she lives when we meet her. She wants Roman (Dane DeHaan) to leave too, but there isn’t as big of a desire, or reason, to leave like she has. Thus leading them to break up, him drinking himself into a stupor, her visiting him in rehab, and then them running away together.
Following that, they both venture south but no matter how far they get, Lucy’s father haunts her. As does a talking polar bear (Gordon Pinsent) that Roman has a close relationship with. Heck, he even questions whether it is a god.
Maslany’s Charm Is There and At Full Attention
There is something in her smile, something in her vulnerability, her strength, that just draws you in. Making it so, even when she is strangely acting erratic, or the story isn’t making one lick of sense, she keeps you hanging on. Barely at times, but just enough to finish the movie.
The Mental and Emotional Elements Are So Erratic That They Don’t Make A Lot Of Sense
Starting with Roman, him going on a serious bender seemed over dramatic. Now, I recognize his girlfriend is not only leaving him but moving to another geological area. I get that. However, with her giving him two weeks notice and him deciding to ignore her, nearly drink himself to death, and seemingly threatening to kill himself, it all seemed a bit much. Especially since he flipped to crazy like power to a light bulb.
Which leads to perhaps the main issue for both Lucy and Roman, there is no real build or cohesive journey to them going mad. It isn’t established that Roman was alone most of his life, didn’t have friends, thought of killing himself before, but Lucy gave him second thoughts. None of that is put into place to help push the idea that her leaving was as devastating as it seemed.
Then with Lucy, while there is an understanding of how, if your father molested you, that will cause trauma you perhaps can never get away from, the way Maslany handles it or is written to, is polarizing. Sort of like her role as Emily in The Other Half, there is this desire to say she perhaps is being far too theatrical, yet there is this hesitation to firmly say so because of what the character is going through. Making it where her charm and what seems like intentional overacting clashes.
Leading to the same issue The Other Half had. Maslany is given a character who is simply a love interest. One who arguably only has some sort of depth or layers because they are dealing with trauma or have some kind of disorder. However, and I say this with hesitation, said trauma or disorder seems like a crutch. If not, to put it in a nicer way, a cheap and quick way to explain why the character’s life is how it is. Thus forcing Maslany to play it up, if not outright rely on it, for that is all she has to work with. Leaving you watching this barely developed character who only knows how to be the girlfriend or some vulnerable and struggling young woman. Of which there is hardly any gray in between.
Overall: Negative (Skip It)
Throw DeHaan and Maslany in there with Emily Browning when it comes to seeing their movies. When they are good, it is glorious and they reignite the passion you have for their careers. However, the majority of the time, they don’t find themselves in films you may be iffy about. It is either you love the film or outright think it was a waste of time. Which, once again, I’m in the position of wondering if maybe both DeHaan and Maslany are better when they aren’t the star of the movie but simply supporting roles. If not, maybe, they need to retreat to TV and perhaps stay there.