Two: The Story of Roman & Nyro (NR)

Documentary 71 October 4, 2013
By Ernest Hardy
"Documentaries are like reality shows but they're not fake; they're real," says one of the twins at the heart of Two: The Story of Roman & Nyro, which outlines how hugely successful songwriter Desmond Child ("Living on a Prayer," "I Hate Myself for Loving You") and his partner, Curtis, came to be parents to Roman and Nyro. It's one of the film's many unintentional ironies that these "real" subjects, and so many people in their inner circle, are so very ready for their close-ups. "Playing to the camera" is almost their default setting. Directed by Heather Winters, Two documents everything from early visits to the fertility clinic with the surrogate to the nine-year-old twins (skirting sitcom levels of precociousness) speaking at a conference on fertility. In between, there are the back stories of the two dads, the surrogate's emotional roller coaster, a gay marriage ceremony, and teary testimonials from family members. A vanity project riding the waves of a socio-political moment, Two confirms just as many stereotypes as it attempts to dismantle. Desmond's wealth has allowed him to create a world of privilege for his family, one in which Bon Jovi and Deepak Chopra are intimates, trips around the world are the norm, and every material want or need is met. All of that is accompanied, naturally, by constant conversation about one's "inner energy," and a breezy, Oprah-esque spirituality suffuses everything. "If you believe in the magic of the universe," says Curtis, "magic happens." For all of that, one segment rivets: an old-fashioned heterosexual domestic drama, as Desmond's parentage proves to be the stuff of soap opera. His mother's story is far more interesting—and radical—than his, and provides a soft critique of the very institution the film is celebrating.
Heather Winters Jon Bon Jovi, Deepak Chopra, Desmond Child, Curtis Shaw, Roman Shaw Child, Nyro Shaw Child Curtis Shaw, Heather Winters

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