Starring: Audrey Hepburn, Albert Finney, William Daniels
Director: Stanley Donen
Running Time: 111 mins
Two For The Road is a British film following the ups and downs of a couple’s ten-year relationship as they travel the South of France and discover the real truths about being married.
This film is amazing. I was absolutely entranced by every moment of Two For The Road, and its astonishingly deep, emotional and intelligent story about marriage. With a stunningly inventive screenplay, beautiful directing, an exceptional score, wonderful performances, and the ability to give both a powerful dramatic impact as well as a delightfully romantic atmosphere, this is pretty much as perfect as films get.
What really impresses me about this film, above all else, is its ability to mix so many different tones, atmospheres and emotions into one story, and pull it off so well. In the space of just under two hours, you’ll get to watch one of the most beautiful and tender love stories ever put on the big screen, whilst still being given a story that talks about the reality of marriage and relationships, and the fact that nothing in life really is perfect.
Normally, films with such a diverse emotional scope would become confused and messy, but not in the case of Two For The Road, and a key reason for that amazing success is the hugely innovative non-linear format that this film uses.
Rather than tell the story of this couple’s relationship from beginning to end, it weaves in and out of different periods. So, in one moment, you can go from their blissful young love to a decade later where their marriage is on the rocks, and that’s how the shifts in tone work so well, because you’re almost moving to a different story altogether, only connected by our two main characters and the theme of their relationship.
There are some very sad and even brutal moments in Two For The Road where the couple test each other to their limits, but then there are equally just as many happy, hilarious moments that will bring your mood up, and what that means is that you can watch this film in almost any way you like.
If you mainly follow the story about their rocky relationship, it’ll have a profound emotional effect on you. However, if you don’t want such a heavy impact, you can watch this as a simple, pleasant romantic comedy. Therefore, whilst having so many intelligent and brilliantly-written layers to it, Two For The Road is a film for that absolutely anyone can watch and love.
And if the screenplay wasn’t perfect enough, there are two exceptional performances by Albert Finney and Audrey Hepburn. Apart from having such a brilliant on-screen rapport, Finney and Hepburn manage to emulate the film’s many layers by giving their characters just the same.
Albert Finney’s character can be seen as almost a wannabe playboy, often feeling stuck in his marriage to just this one woman, but then again, he also excels at showing the man’s ultimate devotion to his love for his wife, something that is absolutely wonderful to see.
And Audrey Hepburn also puts in a stunning show. Moving away from the innocent Parisian girl we’ve seen her play again and again, Hepburn’s performance is impressively deep and layered, playing a woman who, just like the main theme of the movie, doesn’t have a perfect life, and isn’t perfectly lovely, but still feels devoted to keeping her marriage to her husband as strong as possible, despite their various arguments.
Then there’s Henry Mancini’s incredible score, possibly my favourite of all time. Once again, the score can be both happy and pleasant as well as melancholic and dramatic, which again furthers the conflicted emotions of these characters, as well as allows you to watch the film and have your own, unique take on it.
Finally, Stanley Donen’s directing is just as brilliant as can be expected. Just like all his films, every scene is filled with wonderful, vibrant colours, and, amongst the beautiful settings in the South of France, this film is always a joy to look at and take in.
Overall, this is an exceptional film that manages to blend so many genres, themes and emotions together into one entrancing story, made even better by the brilliantly inventive screenplay, amazing score, wonderful direction, and stunning performances, and that’s why I’m giving Two For The Road a near-perfect 9.9.