Director: James Gray
Year Released: 2008
L'amour fou: American Style. Fidgety New Yorker (Joaquin Phoenix) moves back home with Mom and Dad after his engagement falls through and those horrid suicidal thoughts keep resurfacing, but luck is on his side and he meets two women: a nice girl (Vinessa Shaw) who comes from money and a troubled blonde (Gwyneth Paltrow), and tries to juggle both, preferring the latter but appeasing the former. The set-up (and follow-through) should be familiar to anyone with a semi-regular film-watching schedule, but there's something else there: it could be the outstanding performance by Phoenix (who manages to prevent his character from being pathetic), it could be Gray's mature direction and insight. It glides gracefully to its (actually quite appropriate) conclusion: sometimes 'crazy love' isn't supposed to last, and sometimes life does seem to intervene to force you to make the right decision when you really, really want to make the wrong one.