I’ve Loved You So Long
(Il y a longtemps que je t’aime)
A few weeks back I mentioned that The Visitor, now on video, was one those hidden gems of 2008 that I feared most people would miss. Well lets hope the same thing does not happen to I’ve Loved You So Long. The film is currently in theatres so be sure you do whatever you can to track it down.
Estranged for 15 years, the two Fontaine sisters are reunited when Juliette (Kristen Scott Thomas) temporarily moves in with Lea (Elsa Zylberstein). Having not seen each other since they were young, Juliette must not only get acquainted with her sister but Lea’s husband and two adopted daughters as well. As Lea slowly brings Juliette into her world questions start to arise about Juliette’s past. To give away anymore of the plot would spoil the essence of the film. I will say that this is a profoundly rich tale about tragedy and forgiveness. As the story unfolds you not only understand the choices the characters make, but the ramifications as well.
While there are some minor similarities to the film Rachel Getting Married, it is not apparent until the last few reels. This is due to the fact that I’ve Loved You So Long has its own unique views on family and secrets. I loved that the sister’s relationship was not one of constant bickering and pettiness. Instead the film focuses on each sister’s need to reconnect. Whether it was Lea’s longing to reconcile with Juliette, or Juliette’s reconnection with the world in general, the story never felt forced. Kristen Scott Thomas gives a marvelous performance as Juliette; brilliantly conveying both anger and sadness through the most subtle of nuances. Elsa Zylberstein is also great as Lea; she helps to bring authenticity to the sisters dynamic. The script from writer/director Philippe Claudel is extremely well written. The plot unfolds slowly yet you are constantly enthralled with both story and the characters. Powerful without being trite, I’ve Loved You So Long is a truly engaging film that should not be missed.