Sunday, January 11, 2009

Movie Review: I've Loved You So Long (2008)

Il y a longtemps que je t'aime

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I've Loved You So Long is a French drama that is deeply sad but, in the end, filled with hope.

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.


Positive Review
'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

Negative Review
'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

Content Advice
Thematic material and smoking

USA: PG-13

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Bolt 3D
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.

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Ae Fond Kiss
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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.

1 comment:

  1. I’ve Loved You So Long is a mysterious and dramatic directed by Philippe Claudel, about a woman who struggles to rebuild her relation with her estranged sister after 15 years of imprisonment. Juliette recently released after spending 15 years behind bars, has no place to go. Then ,she goes to her younger sister, Léa, But Lea’s husband, Luc is not happy with the arrangement .Really very interseting movie....i watch I’ve Loved You So Long movie from this website....