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|Kristin Scott Thomas||Juliette, Juliette Fontaine|
|Frédéric Pierrot||Captain Faure|
|Lise Segur||young Lys|
|Jean-Claude Arnaud||Papy Paul|
|Catherine Hosmalin||integration counselor|
|Claire Johnston||Juliette and Lea's mother|
|Nicole Dubois||hospital doctor|
|Philippe Claudel||Director, Screenwriter|
|Jean Louis Aubert||Score Composer|
|Jacqueline Bouchard||Costumes/Costume Designer|
|Stephane Brunclair||Sound/Sound Designer|
|Samuel Deshors||Art Director|
|Sylvestre Guarino||Executive Producer|
|Pierre Lenoir||Sound/Sound Designer|
|Julien Zidi||Asst. Director|
Posted October 1, 2010
Kristin Scott Thomas is a master of understatement - any more subtle and stinging and she would be the human equivalent of a tiny wasp, who strikes before you even know you've been hit. In less flowery terms, she is very brave in her performance for how *little* she allows herself to do. Absent are the explosive emotional displays that another, less talented actress might have indulged in. Her volatile emotions sit just under the surface, as with someone who has everything to say but declines to speak. Every second she is on screen her pain is evident, but she doesn't need to tell us, and the sparse script works well in Thomas's favor. We can see that constant pain in every move, every tiny look, and hear it in even the simplest "No". The acclaim she received for this role is well deserved.
Lest this just become a gushing ode to Thomas, it must be said that the entire film is subtle and aching. The camera watches the world as lazily as Kristin's character (Juliette), seeing everything of the film's beautiful muted world but detached from it. The other characters are just as engaging and sympathetic, written and performed with a softness and (to risk cliché) genuine realism as Juliette (the grandfather, who has lost the power of speech, is especially touching in a scene where he and his quasi-daughter-in-law sit in amiable silence, a scene in which the beleaguered Scott Thomas is finally able to visibly relax). The dialogue is artfully minimal and the scenes are balanced: a delightful weekend in the country set up against the tension-ridden dinner scene, for instance. Never are we (or Kristin, for that matter) allowed to wallow, nor are we able to feel completely safe, not with those ever-present emotions never quite contained beneath even the happiest moments of the film. It would not be unfair to liken it heavily to Rachel Getting Married in that sense, though Anne Hathaway's Kym is much less sympathetic and more aggressive than Kristin Scott Thomas's wounded, tight Juliette.
Overall, an extremely worthwhile film, for its rich performances, subtly in script and visuals, and for taking on a very truly dark subject matter, along with the troubling array of emotions it involves. A must for any film lover, but especially one eager to explore the realities of facing the truth of life (good and bad) in the film medium. A near-perfect film.
Posted October 1, 2010
I'VE LOVED YOU SO LONG ('Il y a longtemps que je t'aime) is novelist Phillipe Claudel's first screenplay (he also serves as director). If this film is an indication of the themes and stories he has to tell then a new and gifted artist has come our way. Claudel knows how to take his audience along what appears to be a very quiet film while at the same time drawing the viewer into a story that feels like quicksand, so surely and gradually is the powerful element of the story revealed.
Juliette (a radiantly gifted Kristin Scott Thomas) has been imprisoned for murder for fifteen years and is released to the care of her emotionally estranged sister Léa (Elsa Zylberstein): when young physician Juliette was quietly sentenced to prison, the sisters' parents disowned Juliette and raised Léa as an only child, refusing to allow her to communicate with her older sister. Léa is now married to Luc (Serge Hazanavicius) and the couple has adopted tow Vietnamese girls: Léa did not want to give birth to a child (an early clue as to the horrors revealed ahead). Juliette is practically mute, so seldom does she converse, and Luc is worried about having Juliette in his house: the 'murder' for which Juliette uncontestedly was imprisoned was her six year old son.
Juliette meets with her parole officer Capitaine Fauré (Frédéric Pierrot) who is supportive and shares Juliette's view of the world. She is interviewed and denied jobs because of her crime, but meets a few people with whom she can connect - especially the kindly Michel (Laurent Grévill). Gradually Juliette warms to her sister's family and to Léa to whom she tells the tragic facts of her past, facts that allow us to realize why Juliette is such a damaged creature.
The profound acting performance by Kristen Scott Thomas is a wonder to watch. The entire cast to very fine but Scott Thomas is riveting in a story that in another's hands would not have gained our empathy to the extent she achieves. There is much social commentary in this film with many levels of meaning that only become apparent after the film is over. It is a stunning masterpiece and deserves the attention of everyone who appreciates quality cinema. In French with English subtitles. Grady Harp