Abuse, passivity, violence and other meanings of the film Just the Two of Us (2023) plot and meaning of the film, explanation of the ending, similar movies.
Year of production: 2023
Director: Valerie Donzelli
Actors: Virginie Efira, Melville Poupaud, Dominique Ramon
The plot of the film Just the Two of Us (L’Amour et les Forêts), which tells the story of a woman escaping a toxic relationship, is a powerful statement on the topic of domestic violence.
It’s a smart and gentle reminder of how important it is to always stay alert. Even if the closest and most beloved person is nearby.
What is the movie about
Brief description of the contents of the picture. The plot centers on the fate of a woman named Blanche. One day she and her twin sister go to a party, and there she meets Gregoire, who calls himself the “ideal man.” They leave the party together and immediately plunge into a beautiful, passionate romance.
Virginie Efira played the role of Blanche. Still from the film.
Despite the fact that Blanche recently had a traumatic experience associated with her former “friend,” she throws herself headlong into love. This leads to unplanned pregnancy. The woman treats this news with caution – not least of all, she is worried about how her lover will react to this. However, he is delighted. “I can’t wait to see him,” Greg says, and Blanche realizes that she has really found him – the one and only…
After a while, she and Greg get married, and he takes her to a real wilderness – supposedly because of work. However, it soon becomes clear that work has nothing to do with it, and against this background a quarrel breaks out between them. Blanche is hurt and upset: before this she was sure that her relationship with Gregoire was ideal…
Soon she gets a job. Greg is not very happy about this, but the woman is adamant: she will not sit at home and in the end, he gives up. Blanche is happy, her life is full of meaning – she has a beloved and loving husband, wonderful children and a good job at school. But the idyll does not last long – Gregoire soon begins to act weird. He often calls her at the most inopportune times and controls her in every possible way. Her friends make fun of Blanche, although, according to one of them, she is lucky – her husband may not talk to her for days.
One day, Blanche’s sister comes to visit and gives her a car. The car, according to the main character, simply drives Greg crazy: he is sure that the gift was given with a hidden meaning and one day his beloved wife will leave him forever.
From this moment on, Blanche’s life turns into a real hell. The husband is jealous, suspicious and even stalkers her. Because of this, she begins to doubt her every step, and her self-esteem drops.
Melville Poupaud as Greg Lamoureux. Still from the film.
One day Gregoire listens to a radio program whose central theme is domestic violence. With horror, he learns that he has all the “symptoms” of an abuser and, in his own words, he becomes very ashamed. Upon learning that the victim of violence can always leave, he becomes hysterical. “Don’t go, Blanche,” he pleads. – “Don’t leave me, I won’t survive this.”
The husband assures that the answer to his terrible behavior is simple – he loves his wife very much and is afraid of losing him. However, he immediately makes a reservation that he realized his mistake and now everything will be different for them. Blanche remains silent and Greg begins to become aggressive. Slowly he shifts all the blame onto her: “If you loved me, you wouldn’t allow yourself to be treated like that. It’s because of you that I became a monster.”
From this moment on, the woman, endlessly in love with her husband, begins to see her situation from the outside and finally understands: this cannot continue, something needs to be changed.
Soon she cheats on him. A warm and cozy lover allows her to forget about the nightmare at home for a while… However, that very evening the nightmare reminds itself of itself. Jealous Gregoire arranges such a “debriefing” for her that Blanche understands: a little more and he will raise his hand against her. For a moment, Greg softens and tenderly hugs his wife, but he is confused by other people’s smells. He realizes that Blanche has cheated on him and throws a scandal at her. “You are a dangerous woman,” he yells. – “I’ll tell the children everything.”
Having calmed down a little, he gives his interpretation of what is happening: they are now simply going through a crisis, and he is ready to understand and forgive her. “Admit it now and we will move on,” he demands. – “Just admit the betrayal now and everything will be fine.” Blanche does not give up, and her husband continues to torture her. Every night he interrogates, demanding to confess how long ago and with whom she cheated on him. During the day, he puts on a performance in front of the children: he and Blanche love each other very much, he is an ideal father, and she is a wonderful mother…
Still from the film.
One night, Blanche breaks down. Yes, she cheated on him. The reason?.. She is unhappy with him – with an abuser and a tyrant. And with whom – it doesn’t matter. Greg continues to harass her and eventually she can’t stand it anymore and tries to take her own life. When she ends up in the hospital, her husband visits her and says things that make the woman really feel guilty.
A little later, having put her thoughts in order, Blanche turns to her sister for help and asks her to pick up the children and take them to their mother in Normandy. She tells him the reason in a long letter and asks him to read it later. When she is discharged, she returns home, but only to pick up her belongings. She tells her husband that she is leaving him and demands a divorce. The enraged Gregoire loses his temper and begins to strangle his wife, but she manages to break free and leave.
Just the Two of Us Ending explained
Explanation of the ending of the picture. On the advice of her sister, Blanche turns to a good lawyer. Having learned about everything, she invites the main character to transfer the case to a criminal court. The lawyer completely takes Blanche’s side and asks her to prepare for a long and difficult fight. “This is war,” she concludes.
At the very end, Blanche meets again with Greg, who seems to sincerely repent of what he did. “I loved you badly,” he laments, but the woman tries not to pay attention to him.
The meaning of the ending of the film Just the Two of Us is quite simple: the main character finally leaves an abusive relationship and takes her tormentor to court. The next step will probably be divorce proceedings.
The meaning of the film Just the Two of Us
Almost all fairy tales end with the heroes, who have suffered the right to be together, getting married. However, in life after the wedding everything is just beginning…
The film “Just You and Me” is based on the book “Love and Woods” by Erik Reinhardt, which is based on a true story about domestic violence. The idea to write it came to the writer after one of his readers shared her tragic story with him. The novel recreated the frightening reality of a person who fell into the trap of an abusive relationship and managed to get out of there. The same atmosphere continues in Valerie Donzelli’s film.
Just the Two of Us is the story of one married couple. Unfortunately, it cannot be called special or unique, because so many people live this way. In this regard, one could assume that the director tried to “travel” on the “fashionable” topic of abuse, but this is not at all the case. After all, abuse is a multifaceted concept and both a woman and a man can become a victim of a toxic partner. Therefore, the theme of the film is not reduced to the banal confrontation between the gaslighting spider (abuser) and the one he plans to devour. Oddly enough, but here, first of all, a love story is told – passionate, strong, unhealthy and very painful.
Blanche meets a charming, sweet man who envelops her with genuine care from the very beginning. Having fallen deeply in love with Greg, she marries him and leaves with him far away. And there this “ideal” husband turns into a domestic tyrant, and Blanche becomes a hostage of his love. This does not happen immediately, but gradually and smoothly. Blanche does not understand for a long time how abnormal what is happening between them is and that is why she continues to live with her husband. But why?
Still from the film.
The fact is that couples don’t just happen, and long-term unions are not accidental. Gregoire is a typical psychologically very immature person (in other words, infantile). He is very unsure of himself and therefore tries to assert himself by suppressing those around him. A man has extremely unhealthy feelings for his wife – on the one hand, he adores her, on the other, he hates her attempts to be independent. In addition, he constantly tries to “absorb” Blanche so that she does not go anywhere (in one of the mise-en-scenes he says this almost directly: “You are only mine”).
What does Blanche represent? In general, we know little about her. The film begins with her twin sister dragging her to a party that she initially doesn’t want to go to. There she behaves in such contrast to the others and looks so victimized that Gregoire instantly becomes interested in her. When communicating with her, he behaves very actively and in the end literally drags her along with him – they leave the party together.
Their relationship is developing very quickly. Unfortunately, the lovelorn Blanche fails to react at all to the series of red flags that appear as this passionate romance progresses.
Although it would be worth being wary when the secret meaning of their move to the wilderness is revealed – Greg simply wanted to take his wife as far as possible from her family and thereby tie her tightly to himself. However, the heroine simply accepts it.
Then the “fun” begins. The husband does not want Blanche to work, and when she insists on having her way, he behaves like a manic control freak. At first, the heroine does absolutely nothing about this. What complicates the situation is that he does not hit or threaten her, and she is physically free.
Still from the film.
However, she never even thinks about asking her family or anyone else for help.
Finally realizing that she has fallen into a trap, she cheats on Gregoire and thereby creates another problem for herself. Probably, being a very passive person, she thought that after this he would leave her himself (that is, he would solve the situation she had created). However, Greg is somewhat psychopathic and does not just love Blanche – he is obsessed with her.
The prank didn’t work. Her husband begins to terrorize her and literally drive her crazy. What is Blanche doing? Nothing. She continues to remain in an abnormal situation for some time. However, the human psyche is still not made of iron: unable to withstand the pressure, the heroine tries to commit suicide. The need to take responsibility for her life frightens her so much that she simply decides to die, leaving two children orphans.
In the finale, Blanche, supported by an experienced lawyer, opens a criminal case against Greg. Now the law must save her… Has she learned anything for herself after the nightmare she experienced? Time will show.
The main character evokes complex feelings. On the one hand, she is certainly very sorry. On the other hand, it is impossible not to be indignant at her passivity. And this is not victim blaming at all. Unfortunately, the ending of the life scenario that women like her choose is always the same. The laws of life are harsh: sooner or later you have to pay dearly for your desire to remain an eternal child and run away from problems, rather than solve them. This is exactly the essence of the film.
Still from the film.
Here are several films similar to the film Just the Two of Us in plot and meaning:
- “In bed with the enemy” (USA, 1991). The beautiful Laura Burney is married to a man who is literally obsessed with her. Trying to get out of the net of an unhappy marriage, she decides to fake her own death.
- “When a Man Loves a Woman” (USA, 1994). Michael and Alice seem like the perfect family. However, he doesn’t know much about her…
- “Berlin Syndrome” (Australia, Germany, 2016). Claire meets Andy and he seems perfect to her. However, a promising romantic date turns into a real nightmare for her.
- “Gone Girl” (USA, 2014). The main character’s wife disappears, and he goes in search of her.