Juliette, a middle-aged woman, waits alone, gray and taciturn — two words that pretty well describe I’ve Loved You So Long. She stands to haltingly greet her rendez-vous, her sister, Lea. We gather they’ve been apart a long time. Juliette’s been “away,” her past a talked-around negative space that’s filled out as the film nurses us for two hours on a drip-feed of withheld backstory.
The movie relies on a sustaining performance by Kristin Scott Thomas, the English actress whose fluent French has allowed her an alternate Continental career, as Juliette. We come to understand that Juliette’s fresh off of the prisonyard. Fifteen years disappeared, she’s now incapable of selecting a normal social response — her reactions belatedly twitch across her face as though having traveled from fathomless depths to finally flick the surface. It looks, at first, like one of those vacuum-sealed performances that they usually call in Isabelle Huppert for. But the movie is the process of Juliette’s slow resurrection, and (less gripping) her sister’s family acclimating to this strange relation. Scott Thomas is touching as a woman relearning herself — much more so than the drippy here-come-the-sun guitar work that comes along to announce her thaw. Click here to read the rest of Nick Pinkerton’s review of I’ve Loved You So Long.