I've Loved You So Long (12A)

Film

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Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5
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Time Out says

Posted: Tue Sep 23 2008

This is a jailbreak movie, if not in the usual sense: Juliette (Kristin Scott Thomas, displaying her fluent French) has served her time and left prison in the legal manner; but the gravity of her crime, the bitter response of her husband and family, and 15 years in jug have all ensured that ordinary freedoms mean little to her. Léa (Elsa Zylberstein), the much younger sister taught by her parents to consider herself an only child, takes her in, and French director Philippe Claudel’s touching film follows the gradual breaking down of hard-won defences and the shy beginning of trust.

Léa’s husband is hostile; their two small adopted daughters are sweet but poignant reminders of what Juliette has lost. But if these characters – and a couple of interested men – drive the expected prodigal daughter narrative, it is the contrast between stately, closed Juliette and Léa herself, with her jittery determination to be loved, that bring the film to life. It takes a gutsy first-time writer-director to make a film so understated: ‘I’ve Loved You So Long’ takes tiny steps like a newly released prisoner. But Claudel understands that his drama lies in letting two superb actresses build their characters, forge their relationship and examine their grief. The reveal isn’t the point; Scott Thomas joining the land of the living is. Still, there is a reveal, so in deference to Claudel’s wish to have his prison gruel and eat it, I’m not going to divulge Juliette’s crime.
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Release details

Rated:

12A

UK release:

Fri Sep 26, 2008

Duration:

117 mins

Users say

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<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>0</span>/5

Average User Rating

4.1 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:12
  • 4 star:4
  • 3 star:2
  • 2 star:2
  • 1 star:0
LiveReviews|35
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Angie

I agree this was a beautiful film, if sometimes a little disjointed in its editing. We felt cheated on the termination of a scene. It was so disappointing not to know the end of the film, as our french was not good enough. we had to guess a lot of the conversations, which is not good. I shall ask a french friend to translate!

Grant

You need fluency in French to understand this film. The English subtitles are scarce and random, and do not illuminate.

Natalie P

A very interesting idea for a film, sadly it was a little too slow. What I found most frustrating was the ending *spoiler alert* – the film would have been much more powerful if we had not known that her child was sick. The audience would have been just like the people around her – accepted her and perhaps even liked her – knowing she had done something so terrible. This would have been far more chilling, uncomfortable and poignant. I would have liked to have been fed just a little of bit of her crime.. and still find her character likeable. Very well acted and very well cast. This film left an impression on me. Both good and bad.

Ben Hughes

Whilst it took a while to adjust to the slow pace of the film, the film as a whole was moving, stylish and beautifully acted. Don't give up half way through - it is a film that repays patience. However, don't expect drama - it is a sensitive portrayal of two damaged people.

Paul Clark

The idea that this is a chick flick is absurd. I generally do not watch films like this, but it was a lucky find. Isn't it a shame that some viewers are unable to recognise that slow development of plot and character does not always equate with boring - what is a 'thin plot'? Why does a good film require some kind of 'action' to make it worthy. The acting of Kristen Scott Thomas was engrossing and engaging and beautifully crafted. It could have turned into a sentimental weepie, but instead you felt slowly wrapped up in the charcters and the rediscovery of family. Absolutely delightful, even though I will now go back to the football!

Paul Clark

The idea that this is a chick flick is absurd. I generally do not watch films like this, but it was a lucky find. Isn't it a shame that some viewers are unable to recognise that slow development of plot and character does not always equate with boring - what is a 'thin plot'? Why does a good film require some kind of 'action' to make it worthy. The acting of Kristen Scott Thomas was engrossing and engaging and beautifully crafted. It could have turned into a sentimental weepie, but instead you felt slowly wrapped up in the charcters and the rediscovery of family. Absolutely delightful, even though I will now go back to the football!

Byron

Wonderfully moving, with superb acting all round. I don't understand some of the harsh criticism...a bit of a xenophobic reaction if anything!

Byron

Wonderfully moving, with superb acting all round. I don't understand some of the harsh criticism...a bit of a xenophobic reaction if anything!

Helen Pitman

I wish the sub-titles would have been on all the time I found it very difficult to understand as they were talking French all the time and after spending 2 hours watching it still do not know what the film was about except the fact that Juliette was in prison but I don't know if she killed her child or why!!!!!!

titch

Ranks with The Diving Bell and The Butterfly for performances and emotion. So natural and unforced.

titch

Ranks with The Diving Bell and The Butterfly for performances and emotion. So natural and unforced.

Technoguy

A very good sober film. Digitally shot-a lot of dark interiors and mute colours to begin with. Only the French can do this kind of intellectual,introverted and emotionally repressed film. Shot by first time writer director Claudel, we have the coming together of two sisters after one of them has been released from a long prison sentence.Her growing and tense relationship with the outside world,children,men,new jobs and the slowly revealed reasons for her confinement are tastefully explored. Both actresses share the main story sensitively but Kristin Scott Thomas(bilingual) gives a rivetting,austere,heart-rending performance. The director reins in the scenes just enough to avoid sentimentality.All the best films now are foreign and subtitled.

Mark

Dreadfully boring...give it a complete miss. You've been warned....

Jane

Your review describes exactly my experience with the film. Boring and terribly implausible. The acting was interesting, the screenplay sucked.

Paul

If you want cheering up after losing your job or home give this film a wide berth, and similarly if you want to see a film with your girlfriend. A gloomy film and reminds me why I am glad not to be french

UK

A FRENCH CHICKFLICK -and a deadly flaw in the plot too -as miles said -WHAT AN over-rated pseudo-intellectual french yarn about something so sensitive and it has nothing new to offer about this crucial issue -agree 4 star is too much for this sentimental weepie pretending to be as ambitious as doestovsky

papillon

Very, very good film. Great acting, great storyline. I loved the way the plot unfolds bit by bit. I did not see any "plot flaw" as mentionned by others.

papillon

Very, very good film. Great acting, great storyline. I loved the way the plot unfolds bit by bit. I did not see any "plot flaw" as mentionned by others.

Ella

Philippe Claudel's first movie is impressive! His sensibility, interest in people and attention to details have been "transmitted" into the movie. Kristen Scott Thomas perfomance is remarkable. Although the movie is not "technically" perfect, it actually makes it more human. This movie portrays the strength of two women in a way that only the French can do! I am giving 6 stars because of Kristen Scott Performance and the achievement of Philippe Claudel.

Ella

Philippe Claudel's first movie is impressive! His sensibility, interest in people and attention to details have been "transmitted" into the movie. Kristen Scott Thomas perfomance is remarkable. Although the movie is not "technically" perfect, it actually makes it more human. This movie portrays the strength of two women in a way that only the French can do! I am giving 6 stars because of Kristen Scott Performance and the achievement of Philippe Claudel.

Joy Wood

Jaybird - Agreed my comment may be a plot spoiler. Nevertheless, if you read my explanation again, you will see that the denouement of the film is NOT a plot FLAW, massive or otherwise. The same thing would happen in this country as, humane and ethical as her behaviour was, it is still punishable under law. Under law you are punished for breaking the law, regardless of any good reason you might have for doing it.

Joy Wood

Jaybird - Agreed my comment may be a plot spoiler. Nevertheless, if you read my explanation again, you will see that the denouement of the film is NOT a plot FLAW, massive or otherwise. The same thing would happen in this country as, humane and ethical as her behaviour was, it is still punishable under law. Under law you are punished for breaking the law, regardless of any good reason you might have for doing it.

Joy Wood

In answer to Miles, the point is that euthenasia is illegal. Under ANY circumstances. There is no excuse in law. And her family, particularly her husband who testified against her, apparently agreed with the law.

Joy Wood

In answer to Miles, the point is that euthenasia is illegal. Under ANY circumstances. There is no excuse in law. And her family, particularly her husband who testified against her, apparently agreed with the law.

Jaybird

Beautifully shot, beautifully choreographed, beautifully acted and emotionally true. All the cast provide wonderfully deft and restrained performances. Only let down by a massive plot flaw, which is a shame.

Jaybird

Beautifully shot, beautifully choreographed, beautifully acted and emotionally true. All the cast provide wonderfully deft and restrained performances. Only let down by a massive plot flaw, which is a shame.

Dan

DON;T READ THE REVIEW BELOW THIS ONE if you don't want the story spoiled for you! An excellent film - nuanced, superbly paced and brilliantly acted. Kristin Scott Thomas deserves an Oscar - she's amazing.

Dan

DON;T READ THE REVIEW BELOW THIS ONE if you don't want the story spoiled for you! An excellent film - nuanced, superbly paced and brilliantly acted. Kristin Scott Thomas deserves an Oscar - she's amazing.

Marmiteman

Simply intriguing, so believable with regard the attitudes, fears and prejudices which people have...... a beautiful two hours of thought provoking snippets of life

Marmiteman

Simply intriguing, so believable with regard the attitudes, fears and prejudices which people have...... a beautiful two hours of thought provoking snippets of life