Two Lovers and a Bear

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Two Lovers and a Bear
Two Lovers and a Bear.png
Film poster
Directed byKim Nguyen
Produced byRoger Frappier
Written byKim Nguyen
Based onan original idea by
Louis Grenier
Music byJesse Zubot
CinematographyNicolas Bolduc
Edited byRichard Comeau
Distributed by
Release date
  • May 18, 2016 (2016-05-18) (Cannes)
  • October 7, 2016 (2016-10-07) (Canada)
  • December 16, 2016 (2016-12-16) (United States)
Running time
96 minutes
Budget$8.2 million[1]

Two Lovers and a Bear is a 2016 Canadian independent drama film directed by Kim Nguyen and starring Tatiana Maslany and Dane DeHaan. It was screened in the Directors' Fortnight section at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.[2][3] The film was released on 7 October 2016, by Entertainment One.


The film follows the lives of Roman and Lucy, two people living difficult lives in a small, frozen town of Apex, Nunavut, Canada.[4] They are in love, but Lucy tells Roman that she must leave as a stalker has followed her. Roman tells her that he cannot leave and go south again, because of dark things in his own past. He tries to get her to go without him, and is even pushed to the brink of suicide. Eventually, he knows that he must go with her.

Roman can talk to bears which only he, it seems, can hear talking back, and a polar bear who talks to him about life makes several appearances in the story. On their snowmobile journey south, they are warned of a blizzard, but seek shelter in an abandoned military base instead of going back. Lucy comes to believe that her stalker has followed them there. It is then revealed that the stalker is in her mind, her dead abusive father. Roman burns the military base in order to prove that her father is now dead forever and can no longer follow her.

Seeking shelter in a snow cave, Roman and Lucy talk about a herd of caribou that they had found frozen in a lake earlier in their journey. They compare their lives to these animals, being led on a path and unable to get off, with all of them drowning. As the lovers begin to succumb to the intense temperature, the bear appears again, revealing that he is God and promising to Roman that he and Lucy will see each other again. The final scene shows the lovers' now dead, frozen bodies being cut out of the snow and lifted away by a helicopter.



The film was first announced on 18 March 2015. TF1 International have acquired the worldwide distribution rights.[5]


Filming began on 17 March 2015.[6] Images were released from the set on 25 May 2015.[7] The film's budget is $8.2 million. The filmmakers asked Iqaluit City Council to turn off street lights whilst they were filming because they did not want the orange hue that they gave off, instead wanting their own brighter, whiter lights. This involved manually disconnecting each lamppost.[8] Scenes with the bear were filmed in Porcupine, Ontario (northern Ontario near Timmins).


The film had its world premiere at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival on 18 May 2016.[2][3] The film went onto screen at the Toronto International Film Festival on 9 September 2016.[9] Shortly after, 20th Century Fox and Netflix acquired U.S distribution rights to the film, making it the first Canadian film to be released in the United States by a major film studio since Splice.[10] The film was released in Canada on 7 October 2016.[11] Executive producer Jeff Sackman told Playback Daily that Fox is targeting a Valentine’s Day 2017 release, though he offered no further details on when the film would be made available on Netflix.[12] The U.S release date was changed to 16 December 2016 in order to qualify for the Oscars.


Critical response[edit]

The film received critical acclaim. On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, it has an approval rating of 87% based on 23 reviews, with an average rating of 6.6/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Two Lovers and a Bear's absurdly philosophical story is brought to life by the magnetic chemistry between Tatiana Maslany and Dane DeHaan."[13] Metacritic gives the film a weighted average score of 61 out of 100, based on 12 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[14]

Sheri Linden in the Los Angeles Times calls the film "thrillingly cinematic", however, notes that not all of the plot lines work equally, and the conversations between Roman and Lucy may be more important than the plot lines.[15]

Christy Lemire from said the film was "Beautiful and thoroughly unpredictable; you never know where Nguyen is going with this story, including the chilling, sci-fi/horror direction he heads in toward the film's climax."[16]

Glenn Kenny of The New York Times was quoted as saying the film has "beauty", but noted that it had an "overheated romanticism".[17]

Liz Braun of the Toronto Sun said "There's a surreal quality to Two Lovers and a Bear that gets underlined by the appearance of the Ursus maritimus of the title; DeHaan has called the movie an adult fairy tale, and that's an apt description."[18]

Simon Houpt from The Globe and Mail wrote "Viewers have two choices: Give yourself over to the experience, and you'll be transported; stand back, and you'll feel nothing but chill."[19]


Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) Result Ref(s)
Canadian Screen Awards 12 March 2017 Best Art Direction / Production Design Emmanuel Fréchette Won [20]
Best Editing Richard Comeau Won
Best Make-Up Kathryn Casault Nominated [21]
Best Score Jesse Zubot Nominated
Directors Guild of Canada 28 October 2017 Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Feature Film Kim Nguyen Nominated [22]
Prix Iris 4 June 2017 Best Film Roger Frappier Nominated [23][24]
Best Director Kim Nguyen Nominated
Best Script Nominated
Best Actress Tatiana Maslany Nominated
Best Actor Dane DeHaan Nominated
Revelation of the Year Kakki Peter Nominated
Best Casting Lucie Robitaille and Heidi Levitt Nominated
Best Cinematography Nicolas Bolduc Nominated
Best Sound Claude Beaugrand, Bernard Gariépy Strobl, and Claude La Haye Won
Best Editing Richard Comeau Won
Best Visual Effects Daniel Lavoie and André Montambeault Nominated
Most Successful Film Outside Quebec Kim Nguyen Nominated
Writers Guild of Canada 24 April 2017 WGC Award Nominated [25]


  1. ^ "Roger Frappier". Canada Cannes. Telefilm Canada. Archived from the original on 9 March 2015. Retrieved 9 March 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Fortnight 2016: The 48th Directors' Fortnight Selection". Directors' Fortnight. Société des Réalisateurs de Films. Archived from the original on 20 April 2016. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  3. ^ a b Tartaglione, Nancy (19 April 2016). "Cannes: Directors' Fortnight 2016 Lineup – Laura Poitras' 'Risk', Pablo Larrain's 'Neruda', Paul Schrader's 'Dog Eat Dog'". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  4. ^ Debruge, Peter (18 May 2016). "Cannes Film Review: 'Two Lovers and a Bear'". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved 23 February 2017.
  5. ^ Vlessing, Etan (18 March 2015). "Dane DeHaan, Tatiana Maslany to Star in Indie 'Two Lovers and a Bear'". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  6. ^ Thompson, Anne (17 March 2015). "'Two Lovers and a Bear,' Starring DeHaan and Maslany, Hea - Thompson on Hollywood". IndieWire. Penske Business Media. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  7. ^ Marcie (25 May 2015). "Two lovers and a Bear on set". Simply Dane DeHaan. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  8. ^ Murray, Nick (14 March 2015). "Two Lovers and a Bear producers ask to turn out the lights in Iqaluit". CBC News. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  9. ^ "Two Lovers and a Bear". Toronto International Film Festival. Retrieved 18 September 2016.
  10. ^ McNary, Dave (14 September 2016). "Toronto: Dane DeHaan-Tatiana Maslany's 'Two Lovers and a Bear' Sold to Fox, Netflix". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved 18 September 2016.
  11. ^ Petozzi, Natalie (2 August 2016). "TATIANA MASLANY AND DANE DEHAAN STAR IN TWO LOVERS AND A BEAR, OPENING ON OCTOBER 7". Entertainment One. Archived from the original on 18 September 2016. Retrieved 18 September 2016.
  12. ^ Reid, Regan (15 September 2016). "TIFF '16: Two Lovers and a Bear gets U.S. distribution". Playback. Retrieved 14 December 2016.
  13. ^ "Two Lovers and a Bear (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  14. ^ "Two Lovers and a Bear Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  15. ^ Linden, Sheri (5 January 2017). "Review: 'Two Lovers and a Bear' is a cinematically thrilling drama with hits and misses". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 26 February 2017.
  16. ^ Lemire, Christy (16 December 2016). "Two Lovers and a Bear". Ebert Digital LLC. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  17. ^ Kenny, Glenn (15 December 2016). "Review: 'Two Lovers and a Bear' Walk Onto Some Arctic Ice". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  18. ^ Braun, Liz (7 October 2016). "Two Lovers and a Bear review: Tatiana Maslany and Dane DeHaan melt hearts". Toronto Sun. Postmedia Network. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  19. ^ Houpt, Simon (7 October 2016). "Two Lovers and a Bear fuses a tale of young lovers with northern mythology". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  20. ^ The Canadian Press (12 March 2017). "Juste la fin du monde remporte six prix aux Écrans canadiens". Le Soleil. Retrieved 12 March 2017.
  21. ^ Furdyk, Brent (17 January 2017). "2017 Canadian Screen Awards nominees revealed". Global News. Corus Entertainment. Retrieved 2 March 2017.
  22. ^ Sosa, Alejandra (26 June 2017). "2017 DIRECTORS GUILD OF CANADA AWARDS NOMINEES ANNOUNCED". Directors Guild of Canada. Retrieved 30 June 2017.
  23. ^ Boutros, Magdaline (5 April 2017). "Gala Québec cinéma: Juste la fin du monde et Two Lovers and a Bear en tête". La Presse. Retrieved 1 May 2017.
  24. ^ The Canadian Press (1 June 2017). "Gala des artisans Québec Cinéma: Juste La Fin du monde obtient trois prix Iris". La Presse. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
  25. ^ Pinto, Jordan (1 March 2017). "Maudie, Two Lovers and a Bear, ARQ up for WGC awards". Playback. Brunico Communications. Retrieved 2 June 2017.

External links[edit]