Kristen Scott-Thomas has been known for criticising English-language cinema for not supplying good roles to their female actors. If this is true, from watching this French film you can see why she heads for Europe when she's in need of a lead part that has bite, emotion and depth. Philippe Claudel's understated drama "I've Loved You So Long" deals with themes of guilt, loss and sibling-relationships, mostly all played out in one form or another on the face of the superb Ms Scott-Thomas. All these skills are required when it comes to playing Juliette, a mid-forties ex-medic who is taken in by her sister when she is released from a 15-year stay in Prison. Throughout these painful years, neither Juliette nor her sister Lea has spoken to one another, which proves awkward when Juliette moves into Lea's sunny, welcoming home. Their house in Eastern France is a sanctuary for Juliette, who takes time adapting to being back in the real world. A lot has happened while she's been away - her sister has married and her English mother now has dementia. Although not specifically focused upon, her mother's dementia allows for a subtle, yet touching scene when Juliette visits her in the nursing home towards the end of the film. However, not concentrating on the parental side of things does this film a favour rather than a disservice. This is about the lives of the two sisters, and avoiding a story about the eroding minds of elderly parents saves the gentle drama from straying to near the fence of soap-opera. Life after prison is a subject wrought with melodramatic possibilities, but Claudel saves us from too many door-slamming shouting matches, and opts for a more elegiac tone which helps capture the mournful restraint a film of this nature deserves. This is also well exercised in the revealing of why Juliette was in prison and the circumstances of her crime. Although she does recount the bare facts of her crime with aim to shock (usually in Job interviews when confronted with a less-than-tactful interviewer)she tries not to speak of it, which gives way to a slightly predictable, but well handled twist in the final act. Achingly melancholic and authentically executed, this is deeply involving human drama of the highest order.
Kristin Scott Thomas in French. An intriguing, excellently acted, if sometimes self conscious and self-important picture, which has a point to make about a certain life or death issue; adopting a stance that's bound to provoke some debate. Kristin Scott Thomas gives one of the best performances of her career, and though it's not the kind of film you'd ever watch again and there is one major plot-hole, 'I've Loved You So Long' definitely deserves to be seen, if only for Kirsten's brilliant, haunting portrayal of a lonely & tortured woman.
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Please note this is a region 2 DVD and will require a region 2 (Europe) or region Free DVD Player in order to play BAFTA-award winning I’VE LOVED YOU SO LONG is the outstanding, critically acclaimed breakthrough film of the year. Kristin Scott Thomas (Four Weddings and a Funeral, The English Patient) offers a truly sensational performance in this utterly engrossing and deeply moving tale of two sisters who rebuild their relationship after fifteen years apart. The estranged women gradually rediscover common ground and learn how to relate to one another through the memories of their childhood. All the while the spectre of their time apart looming overhead… This intelligent and compassionate film is a testament to the power of family, love and forgiveness. Age Rating 12
Kristen Scott Thomas stars in this highly-acclaimed, emotional family drama as Juliette, a woman who returns to live with her younger sister Lea (Elsa Zylberstein) and her family after spending 15 years in prison. Initially, Juliette struggles to re-establish her life in the outside world, but over time, the icy reserve and deep-seated bitterness that have built up during her incarceration begin to soften as her sister does all she can to reach out to Juliette and give her the love and support she needs.