Love is ever so much more satisfactory in the movies, where every other kiss is framed by a sunset, and people are always running toward each other in slow motion, their arms outstretched, while in the background the tide comes in, or goes out, or keeps busy, anyway.
I think maybe Stanley Donen was trying to come to grips with this problem of love in the movies when he made “Two for the Road.” Donen has always been a consistently intelligent maker of entertainment for mass audiences. The best Hollywood musical ever made, “Singin’ in the Rain,” was his. A Donen movie, whatever its faults, always looks good on the screen. He likes beautiful colors, perfect photography, quick editing. Donen, in fact, makes almost as much of a fetish out of technical quality as Andy Warhol doesn’t.
So Donen did all of the necessary things. He cast Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney, two uncommonly attractive people, as his lovers. He shot in brilliant colors. He used a screenplay by Frederic Raphael which cleverly and amusingly leaps back and forth in time, catching the couple at various points during their courtship and marriage. And he borrowed a musical comedy trick, putting all the episodes “on the road,” as Finney and Hepburn hitchhike, drive and fly around Europe.