Juliette (the brilliant Kristin Scott Thomas) is released from a 15-year prison sentence for murder. During that time, she has had no contact with her family. But on her release, her younger sister, Lea (Elsa Zylberstein), suggests that Juliette come and stay with her family.
But things don't go well as Juliette retreats into her own moral purgatory and Lea's husband resents her and distrusts her around his own children (and who wouldn't!). Juliette has been away for so long she has to learn to live in the world again but we can see that there is a lot more beneath the surface than just readjusting from a life in prison. It is clear from the beginning that she doesn't really want to be there. She seems resigned to never being accepted again.
As the story unfolds, we learn more about what Juliette did and our perceptions and understanding constantly change, along with her sister's, as she tries to make sense out of Juliette's crime. But it is not the act of crime itself which so engages us — it is Juliette's inner journey that is so riveting. We, as viewers, are also desperate to see what it was that led someone like Juliette to murder. Who was it? And why did she do it?
Kristen Scott Thomas is brilliant as the emotionally troubled Juliette who feels as though she is an outcast and cannot make contact with those around her. Elsa Zylberstein, as the sister, sensitively portrays her own emotional journey as she tries to relate to Juliette. The relationship between the two sisters forms the backbone of the narrative.
I've Loved You So Long is a powerful, subtle, emotional journey. It's understatement and lack of sensationalism add to its power and forces the viewer to consider how they would respond in the same situation. It also confronts us with our willingness to judge without knowing the whole story of someone else's circumstances. I've Loved You So Long deals with some deeply emotional and sensitive issues but is most definitely worth the journey.
'Kristin Scott Thomas' performance in I've Loved You So Long is one of a small handful of highlights by which people will remember this year in movies. This is acting at its most exalted.' - Mick LaSalle/San Francisco Chronicle
'Claudel commits the cardinal sin of withholding the full story until the very end, when it spills out in a histrionic scene between the two sisters and largely exonerates the older one.' - J R Jones/Chicago Reader
Thematic material and smoking
And there's more ...
Madagascar 2 Africa
Alex the Lion (Ben Stiller), Marty the zebra (Chris Rock), giraffe Melman (David Schwimmer) and hippo Gloria (Jada Pinkett Smith) and a few hangers-on decide to escape from Madagascar in a plane that's ability to fly is highly questionable. They yearn for their old lives back home at the zoo. Unfortunately, the plane crashes in Africa providing a wonderful opportunity for all sorts of goings on. An ok sequel.
A wonderful animated adventure about Bolt, a dog who is a superhero in a TV show but doesn't realise it is pretend. His costar, Penny, goes missing and Bolt sets out to rescue her. On the way, he learns that true heroism is not about having super powers. Absolutely delightful.
An Indian adaptation of Memento — although saying it is an adaptation is stretching the point. The main character has lost his short term memory after witnessing the murder of his lover and he seeks revenge. But short term memory presents a bit of a problem. Completely excessive in its violence, soundtrack, varieties of genre but somehow enjoyable. I saw it in a cinema full of Indian patrons and their enjoyment rubbed off on me.
Taxi to the Dark Side
A deeply disturbing documentary telling the story of an innocent taxi driver in Afghanistan who was tortured and killed by US interrogators in 2002. In addition to his story, we learn about the United States use of torture in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Guantanamo Bay. Won Oscar for Best Documentary in 2008. A must-see.