Rating: 3.5 stars
There is so much that is great about the French film I’ve Loved You So Long, I’m willing to overlook its flaws.
As the film begins, Lea (Elsa Zylberstein) is picking up her older sister Juliette (Kirsten Scott Thomas) from the airport. But there’s something stilted and tense about this reunion. Eventually, we find out that Juliette has just been released from prison (later, we find out what she was in for, but I won’t reveal it here) and that the sisters haven’t seen each other in 15 years.
These opening scenes are played beautifully. Lea tries not to smother, tries to avoid the wrong words, while Juliette stares out the window in a kind of mournful daze. She’s become hardened by jail, by the circumstances of her life. What remains unspoken between the two sisters—did Juliette really commit the crime she is accused of? and why did Lea wait so long to come visit Juliette in jail?—is more significant than what is said.
Once they get to Lea’s bourgeois-chic Parisian home (Lea is a university professor), Juliette meets Lea’s disapproving husband, her mute...