Monday, March 16, 2009

I've Loved You So Long

There's one scene in the beginning of I've Loved You So Long, where Juliette (played by Kristin Scott Thomas) stands against a white wall in her younger sister's home. Her face, her unmoving body, seems to fade into the paint. It's almost as if she doesn't exist.

Juliette has been away for 15 years. We quickly find out that she went away to prison so long ago, obviously for some heinous crime, but the why isn't revealed until nearly three-quarters through the film. The story is intriguing, but why she went to prison, and why she didn't defend herself during her trial, isn't the primary story. The real story here is the relationship between Juliette and her younger sister, Lea (played by Elsa Zylberstein).

Lea is thrilled that Juliette is finally coming home. Her husband is less thrilled, and wonders what they've gotten themselves into. As time goes on, through simple scenes involving the two of them, you discover that Lea never visited Juliette, never wrote to her, during the entire time Juliette spent incarcerated. And that particular "why" is part of the greater story.

It's rather amazing that this story can be told with very little dialogue, especially in the beginning of the film. However, as time plods on in Juliette's life, she picks up language, she begins to live a little, and the rhythm of their lives speeds up, bit by bit.

"I've Loved You So Long" is the name of a song they both used to sing in childhood. However, it's really the theme of the movie: it's all about the great love the younger sister had for her older sibling.

There was great talk of an Academy Award nomination for Kristin Scott Thomas for her portrayal in this film. I would have to also add my bewilderment at how the Academy could pass her by. However, what's often not said is that this is a very well-made film. The screenplay is exquisite. And all the actors feel true in their parts. I found the entire play quite moving.

Thumb's up.



At 10:00 AM, Blogger Melinda said...

Sounds a little depressing, but also one I may add to my NetFlix account....


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