A Film by Philippe Claudel.
"Ms. Scott Thomas' deep, subtle and altogether stunning performance. A.O. Scott, The New York Times
|Juliette Fontaine (Kristin Scott Thomas, Golden Globe Nominee for I've Loved You So Long, Oscar nominee for The English Patient) is a frail, haunted woman, an ex-doctor who's a shell of her former self. Having served 15 years in prison for an unspeakable crime, she's back on the "outside." With nowhere else to go, she comes to live with her loving but estranged sister Lea (Elsa Zylberstein). Together the sisters embark on a painful but redemptive journey back from life's darkest edge in this gripping drama of struggle and salvation.|
"A beautiful rapport between two gifted actresses. Andrew Sarris, New York Observer
"So subtle and smart! Kristin Scott Thomas is absolute perfection. Joe Morgenstern, The Wall Street Journal
"Performances this strong and direction this sensitive make us simply grateful to have an emotional story we can sink our teeth into and enjoy. Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times
"Kristin Scott Thomas is absolutely astounding! She gives one of the best performances of this or any year. A stunning film! Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
French writer Philippe Claudel, who has written such novels as MEUSE L'OUBLI and QUELQUES-UNS DES SCENT REGRETS and such screenplays as AT MY FINGERTIPS and GREY SOULS, makes his debut as a writer-director with the emotionally harrowing I'VE LOVED YOU SO LONG. Kristin Scott Thomas (THE ENGLISH PATIENT, THE HORSE WHISPERER) stars as Juliette, a woman who moves in with her sister, Léa (Elysa Zylberstein), after 15 years in prison. Léa's husband, Luc (Serge Hazanavicius), is not comfortable with Juliette's sudden appearance or her developing relationship with his and Léa's two young adopted Vietnamese children, P'tit Lys (Lise Ségur) and Emélia (Lily-Rose). Meanwhile, Léa's friend and coworker, Michel (Laurent Grevill), takes quite a liking to Juliette, as does her playful parole officer (Frédéric PIerrot), but Juliette is hesitant to make any new friends--she's harboring a secret that is tearing her apart. She does, however, find a kindred spirit in Luc's father, Papy Paul (Jean-Claude Arnaud), who has suffered a stroke and can no longer talk but still manages to communicate in unique and clever ways. Claudel allows the complex story to come together at a slow and steady pace, its power building to a tearjerking conclusion. Thomas is spectacular as Juliette, conveying the deep hurt she feels in every nuanced movement as she tries to reclaim her life. The beautiful, evocative score is by French pop star Jean-Louis Aubert.
Cast & Crew
Golden Globe (2009)
||I've Loved You So Long, Nominee, Best Foreign Language Film
British Academy Awards (2009)
||Kristin Scott Thomas, Nominee, Best Leading Actress
Golden Globe (2009)
||Kristin Scott Thomas, Nominee, Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama
British Academy Awards (2009)
||Philippe Claudel, Nominee, Best Screenplay - Original
||Yves Marmion, Philippe Claudel, Nominee, Best Film Not in the English Language
Sight and Sound
"[T]he film succeeds on its own terms as a character study by a writer-director with psychological insight and a gift for eliciting extraordinary performances from actors."
3 stars out of 4 -- "Kristin Scott Thomas has never disappointed in any role....In the French language film I'VE LOVED YOU SO LONG, she is given the opportunity to shine with a fierceness that is rare in Hollywood films."
Los Angeles Times
"[A] thoughtful, provocative film....Performances this strong and direction this sensitive make us simply grateful to have an emotional story we can sink our teeth into and enjoy."
New York Times
"Mr. Claudel's practice of fading slowly to black between scenes, and the spidery tones of Jean-Louis Aubert's score, create an atmosphere of mystery and dread..."
3.5 stars out of 4 -- "The transcendent Scott Thomas, alert to every nuance from comic to tragic, should be on the march to Oscar. There aren't many performances you can call flawless. This one is."
4 stars out of 5 -- "Kristin Scott Thomas gives an outstanding performance in the French-language I'VE LOVED YOU SO LONG..."
"This is one of Kristin Scott Thomas' most inspired performances."
4 stars out of 5 -- "[A]s a showcase for its leading lady's trademark brand of flinty minimalism and icy reserve, this ticks all the right boxes."
4 stars out of 5 -- "Scott Thomas delivers the performance of her career, slowly inhabiting her character with vitality and warmth..."
"[Scott Thomas] shines in this devastating French-language drama....She's all quiet, sharply etched details..." -- Grade: A-
ReelViews 8 of 10
I've Loved You So Long is a meditative French drama about awakening from a metaphorical death. It's about how a shared past can inform present expectations and about whether relationships can bridge a gulf of years and extend beyond a tragedy that is in many ways neither understood nor explained. Writer/director Philippe Claudel's approach to the material is straightforward and free of melodrama, but he elects to present a critical aspect of the protagonist's history as an element of mystery. Rather than peeling back the curtain on the past to the audience at the beginning, he gradually reveals pieces of the central tragedy and what it means, and has meant, for those involved...Acting is one of the movie's most obvious strengths. Kristin Scott-Thomas, who may still be best known for her roles in Four Weddings and a Funeral and The English Patient, has in recent years elected to recede from the high profile spotlight and appear in smaller productions like this one. She gives Juliette a real sense of depth and pathos...I've Loved You So Long is the kind of film that will bore to tears those who do not enjoy simple, unforced character dramas. The movie's action largely takes place beneath the skin. The pace is slow but not glacial, yet Claudel demands patience. Ultimately, I've Loved You So Long is uplifting, although one might not expect that from the thematic material. The production rewards viewers who roll with the shifting tones, explore the mystery of Juliette's past alongside Lea, and stay to the end. This may be a tough sell in a marketplace dominated by ADD motion pictures, but I'm convinced there's an audience out there.
- James Berardinelli
Chicago Sun-Times 9 of 10
"I've Loved You So Long" begins with a situation similar to "Rachel Getting Married." One sister is released from an institution for a homecoming with another sister who is not overjoyed to see her. Both of the sisters are believed responsible for a tragic death some years in the past. There are subtle questions about whether either one can be "trusted" even now. But the two films are otherwise completely different, and if you've seen one, you haven't seen the other..."Rachel" is as American as apple pie. "I've Loved You So Long" is as French as tarte du pomme. Hackneyed expressions, but there you are. One of the most French elements in "Loved You" is Juliette, played by Kristin Scott Thomas. Yes, from "The English Patient." One of those actors who can move effortlessly between English and French, like Jacqueline Bisset or, with a charming accent, Jeanne Moreau, who had a British mother...French seems to agree with Scott Thomas. In her English-language roles, she sometimes seems a little cool, ever so slightly aloof. In French, she warms, is more free with emotions, more easily reaches joy and sorrow. Watch her here falling in with the two adopted Vietnamese daughters of her sister Lea (Elsa Zylberstein). It's a love that seems spontaneous and not faked...Everything centers on Juliette. Her transgression was more unforgivable than what Rachel's sister did. Her feelings run even deeper. She has been away for longer and finds it more difficult to gather up the threads of life. This is one of Kristin Scott Thomas' most inspired performances. The Academy may get her confused with herself.
- Roger Ebert