by Liz Locke
Marriage is a well-travelled thoroughfare in cinema, and thus it takes a special talent to capture all the bumps and twists in a fresh, unique way. Stanley Donen, director of the 1967 film Two for the Road, expertly guides us on the marriage journey through flashbacks, time jumps, and creative editing, boldly juxtaposing the bloom of new love with the rotten stench lingering after infidelity, kids, and careers. By the end of this movie, you’ll be begging for a drink.
Joanna and Mark Wallace begin the film estranged, sniping at each other in an airport while en route to Saint-Tropez. Audrey Hepburn is cool and aloof over her Louis Vuitton luggage, while Albert Finney is condescending and irritable. Immediately we wonder—what the hell happened to these two? Over the next two hours we see flashbacks of their meet-cute in the South of France, a return road trip as newlyweds, the addition of some horrific traveling companions (note: NEVER GET IN THE CAR WITH A CHILD), and their evolution into jaded members of the international Jet Set. The cars and clothes get more expensive as Joanna and Mark become less and less affectionate, but through it all is the undeniable chemistry of Hepburn and Finney. They banter, trade barbs, laugh, cry, fight, and have a real goddamn marriage on the silver screen. Always at a crisis point, whether it’s Joanna wearing an unfortunate pleather suit and running off with her smarmy European lover, or Mark 10 seconds away from throttling a bratty little girl, Donen shows us how the little moments of one’s life add up to something substantial. By the end, you just feel exhausted. You’ve been on this trip with them, and it’s time to get out of the car and stretch your legs.
I, personally, love road trips with my husband because it’s a great excuse to see strange American roadside attractions, stuff myself with Doritos, and put my immune system to the test in a La Quinta hot tub. That’s LIFE, damn it. What I also love about road trips are the cocktails. With the flexibility to pack my trunk full of gin and rosé, there’s no excuse not to be drinking in style. Particularly when you’re following the tips and tricks in one of my favorite traveling companions, Road Soda by Kara Newman, a fantastic book that’ll teach you how to make cocktails like MacGyver. To celebrate Two for the Road and Joanna and Mark’s journey through the South of France, I recommend making this Vesper cocktail, featuring the French aperitif Lillet. Try it on your next trip while giving your partner the side-eye and hiding his passport just to be a bitch. Joanna would approve. Cheers!
3 oz Gin
1 oz Vodka
½ oz Lillet Blanc
Combine Gin, Vodka, and Lillet in a shaker with ice. Shake until chilled, then strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.