Ive Loved You So Long and Rachel Getting Married get compared quite often due to their similar storylines. In both films, a woman is released from an institution to her family. Neither party is too excited about the reunion, and in both films, the woman has to confront her past demons. Anne Hathaways Kym is loud and in your face, flaunting her poor choices at her sister Rachels wedding. Kristin Scott Thomass Juliette is the complete opposite. Juliettes past is locked tightly away and she doesnt want to talk about it despite her sister LÃ©as desire to learn more about it.
As Ive Loved You So Long opens, Juliette is quietly smoking a cigarette in an airport terminal as her much younger sister LÃ©a arrives to pick her up. LÃ©a was only a very young girl when Juliette was incarcerated for murder fifteen years ago. Juliette will be living with LÃ©a, LÃ©as husband Luc, their two young adopted Vietnamese daughters, and Lucs father until she can get back on her feet. Luc is skeptical of her living with them, and makes several references to him not being comfortable with Juliette around the children. Juliette applies for several jobs, develops a friendship with her parole officer, and develops a romantic relationship with a colleague of LÃ©as named Michel, all while speaking as little as possible. She is restrained throughout the entire film, obviously a result of why she was incarcerated. The facts of which are not revealed until the very end of the film and for that reason, those facts will not be divulged here.
As we watch Juliettes journey back into civilization, we do not automatically feel sympathy for her because we dont know anything about her. And we arent the only ones. Only Juliette knows the secret that she keeps. Instead of feeling emotional relativity toward the main character, we feel more like LÃ©a in this film. She was only eight years old when her sister was thrown in prison so she barely knows her. She doesnt know any details about the situation, and neither do we. She tries desperately to get this information out of Juliette, and we the audience want desperately to find out as well. When everything is finally revealed, we feel just like LÃ©a. We are able to understand the reason for Juliettes silence and embrace her for her past.
It is not until the end of the film that we are fully able to appreciate the powerful performance that Kristin Scott Thomas (Academy Award nominated actress for The English Patient) has given here. Her character is developed throughout the course of the entire film. There are times when a small detail is given about her past, and you think you know enough to pass judgment, but you really dont. Juliettes sister LÃ©a is played by Elsa Zylberstein (a CÃ©sar award nominated actress for Mina Tannenbaum, Beau fixe, and Van Gogh) and she is the perfect choice to play this role. Shes got the wide-eyed innocence of a younger sister trying to unconditionally love her sister. She exudes onscreen all of the emotions that the audience feels while watching the film: frustration, compassion, anger, love. The entire supporting cast is superb as well from the two scene stealing little girls to Lucs quirky father to Juliettes parole officer.
While Rachel Getting Married is a powerful film about raw human emotion, I’ve Loved You So Long is its quieter counterpart. Kym could learn a lot from Juliette about how to deal with her past with grace. This is a film that will linger long after the credits roll.
Presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio, with Dolby Digital Surround Sound. The light and dark contrast is especially crisp on this Blu-Ray disc, and is a nice addition to the tone of the film. The sound is clear as well, and is most noticeable during the piano scenes.
This film is in French with English subtitles. There is a dubbed track that features Kristin Scott Thomas’s voice, but the subtitles are always recommended.
Deleted Scenes – There are 6 of these, all are very short. The most interesting ones provide more character development for Luc. You can view with optional director’s commentary. 5:09
Previews: The Class, Persepolis
I’ve Loved You So Long is an incredibly well-acted, very rewarding film. It’s a shame the extras are so sparse. A commentary track would have been nice, since the director’s commentary on the deleted scenes was so informative. This film is highly recommended.
Sony Pictures Classics presents I’ve Loved You So Long. Directed by: Phlippe Claudel. Starring: Kristin Scott Thomas, Elsa Zylberstein. Written by: WRITER. Running time: 117 minutes[/b[. Rating: [b]PG-13. Released on DVD: March 3, 2009. Available at Amazon.com
Tags: Anne Hathaway, Kristin Scott-Thomas