It's doubtless a strange thing to routinely bear witness to an external version of yourself in the media—watching yourself on YouTube, seeing yourself on Access Hollywood or in tabloids. Throughout I'm Still Here we see Phoenix watching himself on his laptop—glued to the screen like Narcissus looking into the pond. But is what he sees a familiar self? Or is it something as foreign as Commodus or Johnny Cash? Or is it ultimately all the same?
Joaquin Phoenix is a great actor. He was amazing in films likes Gladiator, To Die For, Quills, The Village, Signs, and Walk the Line, among many others. He’s been nominated for two Academy Awards. He’s an actor of mysterious, artsy repute, born of cultish hippie Vegans in Puerto Rico and brother of the late River Phoenix. But Joaquin’s best acting performance so far is happening right now, in 2009, and you can see it in theaters.
I’m talking about his work in the new film, Two Lovers.