A Bumpy Ride! – Rediscovering ‘Two for the Road’ (US 1967 – 112 mins)

Posted in Rediscover by - April 22, 2018
A Bumpy Ride! – Rediscovering ‘Two for the Road’ (US 1967 – 112 mins)

1967 was a groundbreaking year in American cinema. It ushered in a new wave of violence in movies. Superb films such as ‘Bonnie and Clyde’, ‘The Dirty Dozen’ and ‘In Cold Blood’ all resonated with both critics and the public. But one little movie that year that has since become a favourite for many, is Stanley Donen’s wonderful romantic comedy-drama ‘Two for the Road’.

Whilst travelling through the South of France, Architect Mark (Albert Finney) and his wife Joanna (Audrey Hepburn) look back at their 12 rocky years of marriage. Through frequent flashbacks of their many trips throughout Europe, we witness their arguments and happier moments, as well as their affairs and then making up. Yet, through all the tears, troubles and tantrums, you get the impression that their marriage will last. They do seem ideal for each other and share enough love and laughter to get them through their (often self-made) problems.

‘Two for the Road’ has superb performances from both Finney and Hepburn, and they have great chemistry together, and you find yourself rooting for both at different times, as each take turns beating themselves up. 23 year old Jacqueline Bisset had an early role as Hepburn’s chicken pox suffering friend, and Eleanor Bron was good as Finney’s former girlfriend. Director Stanley Donen did his usual professional job here, and employed some interesting techniques, including a memorable freeze-frame of Finney witnessing Hepburn’s infidelity. I could have done without the speeded-up sequence though, where Mark and Joanna tag along with stuffy Willian Daniels and his family. Frederic Raphael’s realistic and often funny script rightly earned him an Oscar nomination, and Henry Mancini composed the lovely score, which remains his own personal favourite.

I love the little scene where Finney asks Hepburn if he should make some funny faces to cheer her up, and she simply replies “you don’t NEED to make funny faces”. Another nice moment is when Finney (after meeting Hepburn for the first time) thinks he will never see her again, when suddenly she appears from behind a traffic signal mimicking its movements.

A romantic cult favourite for a lot of people,’Two for the Road’ is one of the best movies about marriage, expertly combining comedy, drama and sentimentality. Oh, and the ending is perfect, with a memorable verbal exchange between both leads!

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