Move review by Andrea Karen Hammer
I Loved You So Long (2008) is a mournful, heart-wrenching and gripping drama about two sisters reunited after a 15-year separation.
As Juliette, Kristin Scott Thomas‘s dark-eyed anguish and withdrawn manner immediately signal that her life is seriously amiss. Despite a warm greeting from her sister Lea (Elyse Zylberstein) at the airport, Juliette reluctantly gathers her cigarettes and suitcase to leave the empty room, a symbolic reflection of her barren world. With her telling gestures, the outstanding actress continues to speak volumes by remaining stuck in the doorway of her sister’s home, visibly struggling to cross the threshold.
Slowly, the horror of her situation–surprisingly revealed in the movie trailer–unfolds. Juliette has just been released from prison after serving more than a decade for the murder of her son.
As she tries to adapt to life in her sister’s home, Juliette’s sudden appearance prompts endless curiosity and a series of unrelenting questions, particularly from her inquisitive older niece. Lea’s husband, Luc (Serge Hazanavicius) is uneasy with Juliette’s presence, particularly around the children. Walking the tightrope of tangled emotions, the family members in this complicated situation are frequently at odds.
Intense Scenes in I Loved You So Long Reach a Fever Pitch
In one of the film’s most intense scenes, the situation reaches a fever pitch one night at a dinner party with friends. When one incessantly asking about Juliette’s history, another recognizes the truth, which she finally reveals to the group. As someone who taught in prisons, he listens with full-body attention when the troubled woman uncovers bits and pieces of her feelings and experiences.
In one particularly interesting scene, viewers watch the new friends enjoying artwork together in a museum. Rather than showing the painting, the focus remains on the pair and their deepening connection.
Although painful to watch, this film accurately captures the “forever prison” of losing a child. By some miracle, I Loved You So Long also shows the healing power of a sister’s patience, understanding and love.
Questions for Artsphoria’s Online Film Forum
What were your perceptions of Kristin Scott Thomas‘s performance in this gripping drama? What did you think about the decision her character, Juliette, made regarding her son? Did you think that her ability to create a new life and move forward after this type of incident was realistic, and why or why not?
Add your comments to this movie review. Then, invite other to join Artsphoria’s Online Film Forum!