Scripted by Cebula and Emmanuelle Michelet, both best known as actors, Two Lives works primarily as a showcase for Devos (Kings & Queen, The Moustache). Not that we’re complaining; as a self-sacrificing woman who finally starts doing something for herself, Devos is a study in the small gesture, the hint of a smile, the faint suggestion of playfulness long suppressed.
Indeed, Éliane hasn’t had much time to be playful. In her mid-40s, she divides her time between teaching and tending to the needs of her demanding family. She’s got an aging mother who calls Éliane to run errands, an overworked husband too settled to notice Éliane’s growing frustration and a teenage daughter who takes her mother for granted.
But in her spare moments, Éliane keeps a journal full of writing, drawings and photos. When Éliane buys a computer and starts writing in earnest, it throws her family into a state of nervous uncertainty, especially when she starts spending time with a sexy publisher (Quivrin) who may have more than page proofs on his mind.
The soft version of feminism and the overall sweetness of Two Lives would tempt cynics to mockery, but it’s fun to watch Devos wisely underplay material that could easily become broad and melodramatic in the wrong hands.