I’VE LOVED YOU SO LONG ***
I’VE LOVED YOU SO LONG is like a beautiful haunting poem that never really leaves you.
It centres on a woman’s journey back from hell after serving 15 years in prison – and how she deals with the world after being incarcerated for that period of time.
That woman is JULIETTE FONTAINE. She is portrayed by the magnificent KRISTIN SCOTT THOMAS. Juliette decides to live with her sister’s family while she looks for a job and attempts a fresh start.
At the beginning of the film, her dialogue is limited and she says very little. People react to her in a positive way but she is horribly withdrawn. It isn’t until a vicious potential employer insults her at an interview and throws her out of his office that she effectively begins to engage with her surroundings. At that point, you start to understand why she was in an institution. But those are merely the facts. You lack all of the necessary details.
The mystery unravels slowly over time. You don’t get the last piece of the puzzle until the final moments…and then the screen slowly fades to black.
PHILIPPE CLAUDEL (who does exceptional double duty as writer and director) knows how to keep the pace effective and the story intriguing.
There are some fine performances in this film. But most of the credit should unquestionably go to KRISTIN SCOTT THOMAS. She’s lived in France for years so her fluency with the language is beyond reproach – and she’s absolutely mesmerizing.
Juliette has more on her mind than glamour. Her hair is unremarkably brown and cut short in an easy to care for style. She wears little makeup and her clothes are classically tailored. But her elegant gorgeousness is still somewhat in evidence and peeks through at the most opportune moments.
Men are fascinated by her and find her irresistible. Her queenly reserve and coolly superior bearing makes them sense that she’s hiding something and they all clamour to discover the nature of her deep dark secret.
But Juliette’s not giving anything away. Unless she wants to. Her tragedy is locked inside of her and it’s not something that she would willingly share with anyone else in the world. Much less a new lover.
This is a small film with big emotions burning brightly. But they’re hidden in shadows and not on the surface.
The movie meets its exquisite potential due to KRISTIN SCOTT THOMAS’ sheer brilliance. It’s like a love letter to a goddess who was banished and has come back to reclaim her glorious future.
It is a return that is well worth celebrating.