- Starring: Elsa Zylberstein, Kristin Scott Thomas, Serge Hazanavicius
- Summary: Lea and Juliette are sisters who are almost complete strangers. Juliette has just been released from prison after serving a long sentence. Lea contacted Juliette when she was released and suggested that Juliette come to live with her. Juliette had no particular desire to see her sister again. Life together isn’t easy to begin with. Juliette has to relearn certain basics. The world has moved on and she often seems confused. Although she may seem cold and distant, her attitude stems more from her being ill at ease. Gradually, the real Juliette emerges. She opens up to the world once more. But a huge question hangs over Juliette’s renaissance. Why did she do such a terrible thing fifteen years ago? (Sony Classics)… Expand
- Director: Philippe Claudel
- Genre(s): Drama, Mystery
- More Details and Credits »
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.
Director Claudel makes you wait until film's end to discover why, exactly, Juliette committed her unspeakable crime, and it's the only disappointing aspect of the movie -- the only time I've Loved You So Long traipses into melodrama. But the rest of this utterly absorbing picture never strikes a false note.
A novelist and screenwriter, Claudel's directing for the first time here, and he leans on melodramatic contrivances more than he needs to. Still, he gives us a lean and observant weepie, and the mystery of Thomas's Juliette pulls you in.
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.
Mar 24, 2013Riviting & exquisitely performed! This film is a love story that puts on display a stunning tour de force performance by the two female leads. Their interplay is more than worth the price of admission alone, and the supporting cast rings just as true. Their tale of love & redemption is familiar, but never done better, & without any cliches or film noir tricks to dress it up. I have never seen a film depicting the enduring love of a family member for a sibling as well as this bittersweet tale. The masterful craftsmanship of everyone involved is blessedly on display in ample abundance. Moving, heartfelt, inspirational & profound with scenes that will stay with you for a long time. Go ahead, treat yourself to a viewing (or several).… Expand
Jan 30, 2013This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. A movie that turns out extremely disappointing when it fails delivering what it promised. My two main areas of complaints are the characters' total lack of realism and the final explanation -why was Scott Thomas in jail- that ultimately does not make any sort of sense and thus ruins the entire build-up, in other words, the entire film.
The characters are stereotypical breathing cliches. - Zylberstein who feels guilty for turning her back on her sister when incarcerated justifies her actions by her youth, stating that her parents ordered her to forget she ever had a sister. Which could have been believable if we did not learn later in the film that she was a teenager when her sister was sent to jail. An age at which you can hardly be brainwashed by your parents.
- Zylberstein's husband, portrayed by Serge Hazanavicius, is the sum of all possible cliches, so two dimensional he turns out flatter than a pancake. Sure the role was very poorly written, but with his over-the-top animosity towards Scott Thomas, Hazanavicius doesn't manage to save the day. It even gets to the point of being laughable when he accidentally dislocates his shoulder and M.D.-prior-to-be-incarcerated Scott Thomas snaps it back into place, thus enlightening him about Scott Thomas true nature and allowing their relationship to improve from now on.
- Scott Thomas' probation officer screams "loneliness" so hard to the screen that you almost expect him to beg for free hugs at a later scene. I suppose he was designed to be some sort of a pressure relief to Scott Thomas, and their regular meetings that quickly moved from his office to cafes are here to show us he is different from other probation officers. His endless speeches about the places he'd like to travel to are here to create a poetic note, and have Scott Thomas' mind travel with his, around a drink. But again the poor execution turns him into a joke, and their scenes into wasted film.
I won't go any further into characters, as I have stated what bothered me most, and shall move to the second part: the whole thing doesn't make sense.
We learn rather quickly that Scott Thomas went to jail for 15 years, which puts "murder" high up on the list of probable crimes committed, only to learn soon afterwards that she was convicted of murder on the person of her son.
It is by the end of the film that we actually get to know why, as her sister confronts her after she finds out: her son was sick with a terrible, horribly painful and incurable disease. The murdering of her son was actually an act of euthanasia.
And this is where I fell off my chair. Why didn't she say it? An explanation is given: she didn't care anymore. She was so devastated that she did not want to justify or explain her acts before a court of law.
But what about her family? And even more to the point: did no one actually worked on the case? A kid who has been under intensive care for a rare and terrible disease is not something that goes unnoticed. Did it ever occurred to anyone to connect the dots? Through out the entire film, either people look at her with disgust or people from her past -such as her ex-husband- are mentioned to have turned their back in horror. While I'm willing to understand that people may strongly and even violently react to euthanasia, there is nonetheless a difference in between a psycho mother who killed her son and a medical doctor, with extensive knowledge of all the horrible phases her son has gone and will go through before a certain death, and who gives him some peace with euthanasia. To conclude, I would say the film is completely dishonest, because it makes characters act in the most implausible ways, solely to obfuscate the truth and thus protect the final twist: the kid was sick and the mother isn't a monster, just a loving mom who did what she thought was best for her son.
The characters don't make any sense. Scott Thomas and Zylberstein do a good job considering all of the above, but they are two only to be saved, as the rest of the cast is ranging from average to bad.
Technically the movie is good. Nice camera work and lighting, fine editing and the music choice was interesting.… Expand