‘The Killing of Two Lovers’ (2020) Review: This Family Drama is a Slow Burn Worth the Watch

I’m just going to be completely honest…I really had no idea what I was getting into with this one, nor did I have high expectations…just being honest. I thought I had the basic gist of what this was about and how it was going to play out — and it sounded kinda boring. This is a story we’re all too familiar with (in real life and on the screen). Here’s the storyline:

David desperately tries to keep his family of six together during a separation from his wife. They both agree to see other people but David struggles to grapple with his wife’s new relationship.

But this family drama was so much more than that. It really draws you and you connect with all the characters from the beginning. It’s one of those films that seems to start at the end and works its way back. But the opening scene leaves you with a lot of questions and it gets your mind going a bunch of different ways and its not until the end when some of that is cleared up. This is one of those ambiguous films.

David (Clayne Crawford) is just a devoted husband and father doing his best and trying to keep his family together. He and Nikki (Sepideh Moafi) were high school sweethearts who got married young — maybe they’ve both had to sacrifice the life they wanted to live to provide for their family. When it becomes to much and they need a break, the married couple decides to separate and allow for each other to date other people while still trying to work on their marriage. Maybe they were being too optimistic and David begins to struggle with Nikki dating Derek (Chris Coy). All the while, the kids are also struggling to process their new situation, especially their eldest child, the teenage Jess (Avery Pizzuto).

Written and directed by Robert Machoian, the screenplay is tender and emotional and sincere. The film shows the highs and lows and the effects of a separation on all the parties involved — there are moments of cute, fun joking between sons and father and touching father-daughter scenes mixed with intense and emotional confrontations between the estranged couple. The scenery and cinematography is cold and stark, but the chemistry, acting and interplay between the characters warms it up and keeps it from being off-putting and distant. The nuance of the family dynamics and the adult relationships was smartly dealt with. The acting all around was phenomenal, raw and immersive, especially Clayne Crawford. The characters were relatable and the story was personal yet universal — everyone can either see themselves in these characters or knows someone who has had to deal with something similar. And don’t get me started on Chris Coy‘s character — he made my blood boil, he was straight wildin’. And that scene had my heart pounding…if you’ve seen the film, you know what I’m talking about. Relationships –and life– are hard but its all a matter of how we navigate it and the outlook we bring. And in the end we have to fight for those we love. Overall, “The Killing of Two Lovers” was a slow burn…a simple story with not a lot of fuss…but well worth the watch.

“The Killing of Two Lovers” will be in theaters May 14, 2021.