Two English Girls (1971)

Genres - Drama, Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Period Film, Romantic Drama, Erotic Drama  |   Run Time - 130 min.  |   Countries - France  |  
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As befitting one of the screen's great romantics, director François Truffaut made one of his last projects before he died of cancer in 1984 -- the restoration of this neglected film. In some ways, the geometry of the triangular romance in Two English Girls is more satisfying than that of Jules and Jim, in part because of the more tangled relationship between the same-sex angles of the triangle (here, they are sisters, not just friends as Jules and Jim were), and also because the apex of the triangle here, Jean-Pierre Leaud's Claude, is a much more complicated person than Jeanne Moreau's free-spirited Catherine in the first film. The barriers the story sets up to physical expression of romance and the possibility of life-long commitment allow for plenty of shifting over the years, as first one sister loves Claude and then the other, and vice versa. As in all his films, Truffaut lets his characters talk endlessly about love, sometimes because they're unable to act on their feelings, more often because they're unwilling or uncertain. Truffaut idealizes love but is unafraid to suggest its imperfections, that it's likely that no two lovers will ever be as much in synch with one another as they imagine. Two English Girls expresses that notion as well as any film in his marvelous career.