“I think we can safely say that a woman like Gwyneth Paltrow has never in the history of NYC fallen in love with a 30-something” — a downbeat donkey, played by Joaquin Phoenix — “who lives with his parents in Brighton Beach.” So said Ben, a N.Y. Times commenter, early this morning about James Gray‘s Two Lovers. “Which pretty much ruins the movie as a serious work before you even see it, since it’s constantly reminding you of its inauthenticity.”
Add this gripe to my own about Vinessa Shaw being poorly cast as a slightly-too-nice Brooklyn neighborhood girl, and you’ve got both female leads in this film drawing flak.
Shaw is “too Fairfield County pretty, too poised and delicate to be a borough girl,” I wrote. “There are exceptions galore in real life, of course, but men and women from Brooklyn and Queens (i.e., those born and raised) tend to exude a slight coarseness. A coarseness that’s often vibrant and agreeable (I know New Yorkers and it’s not a cliche), but is also saddled, I feel, with a lack of curiosity in other realms.
“A wanting for worldly finesse, I mean. An Adrianna-from-The Sopranos quality. Not to mention that happily hunkered- down attitude about being ‘borough’ — a life of eating pizza, not quite dressing the right way and failing to learn to speak French or play piano. Not to mention the distinctive ethnic features and honky accents. (I’ve known exactly one woman in my life who was raised in Brooklyn but doesn’t look it or talk it.)”