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I’ve Loved You So Long

August 30, 2010

I’ve Loved You So Long (2008)
Director: Philippe Claudel
Actors: Kristin Scott Thomas, Elza Zylberstein, Laurent Grevill

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Synopsis: Juliette (Kristin Scott Thomas) spends time with her extended family after a long, mysterious ‘break’. Her past soon catches up with her though….

Review: A film which in essence is quite soapy and rests on a series of sensational plot hooks, is redeemed by the classy treatment accorded by its director Philippe Claudel and the exemplary efforts of its ensemble cast. Claudel lets the action unfold leisurely and quietly, making good use of his Nancy location and the all-important family home where Scott Thomas’ ex-con makes her gradual return to normality. Scott Thomas herself is an inspired choice in the lead role, being one of those few actresses who does not need to ‘act’ demonstrably, when blessed with such an innately interesting and photogenic persona. In I’ve Loved You So Long she is able to communicate through the merest of gestures the full emotional range of her character’s delicate transition back into society.

Unfortunately, plot holes betray the film somewhat, particularly with the narrative setting itself up as an elaborate game of suspense while the real reason behind Scott Thomas’ ambiguous criminality is deferred. When that revelation comes in a jarringly hysteric final act, it dissipates the genteel nature of what had gone before, as well as making little literal sense because although Scott Thomas would be rightly charged and imprisoned for committing Euthanasia, surely the film’s characters and society in general would treat her much more sympathetically and not as the pariah that the narrative relies on her being for the majority of its running time. (March 2009)

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