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I've Loved You So Long

108 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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.

Kristin Scott Thomas is brilliant as Juliette, freed from prison after serving 15 years. Enigmatic, reserved, yet ready to re-enter life cautiously, Juliette moves in with her younger sister, Lea (Elsa Zylberstein), a literature professor, and the latter's husband Luc (Serge Hazanavicius), who worries about allowing Juliette into a home with two young children (related to the reason she was convicted in the first place). Also in the house is Juliette and Lea's father (Jean-Claude Arnaud), mute from illness. Writer-director Philippe Claudel slowly reveals details about the nature of Juliette's crime as she takes a job in a hospital records department and is wooed by a colleague. Other forces in Juliette's life--people asking questions, a visit to her dementia-suffering mother, tensions between her and Lea--slowly tease out the mystery behind her actions and takes viewers to a conclusion that adds an element of surprise but ties things up too tidily. Claudel cultivates an aura of naturalism and no-frills storytelling that allows dramatic developments and revelations to unfold easily. The film borders a bit on soap opera, but the grace and intelligence of Thomas' performance, offset by Zylberstein's more emotional work, is never less than compelling. --Tom Keogh

Stills from I've Loved You So Long (click for larger image)

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Pascal Bordes, Alain Buron, Isabelle Destrez, Nathalie Hamel, Dominique Kucharzewski
  • Directors: Philippe Claudel
  • Producers: Yves Marmion
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: French
  • Subtitles: English
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: March 3, 2009
  • Run Time: 117 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (108 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001M72J68
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,042 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "I've Loved You So Long" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

100 of 101 people found the following review helpful By Sharon Isch TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 5, 2009
Format: DVD
I think I'd call this a perfect gray day movie and I suggest seeing it with someone who's on your same wave length because, once it's over, you're going to want to talk about it and, perhaps, piece together the parts of the story that were merely alluded to.

Kristin Scott Thomas, in a quietly intense, brilliantly calibrated performance, plays a woman just freed after 15 years in prison for murder. Until she can establish a new life, she is to move in with the sister who never came to visit her in all those years and the sister's family--a worried husband, two young adopted daughters and the husband's father, a stroke victim who can no longer talk. Soon a parole officer who dreams of visiting the Orinoco and a university colleague of the sister, who once taught in a prison, assume key roles as well. All these characters, even the little kids, come off as exceptionally real and interesting people.

This is one of those movies that reveals itself slowly and stays with you for a long time. It plays on an emotional level that reminds me somewhat of "Under the Sand," the Charlotte Rampling movie about the woman whose husband went for a swim and was never seen again. (Odd, kind of, that both are French movies that star English actresses who've lived most of their adult lives in France.)
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61 of 62 people found the following review helpful By A. L. Mays on February 10, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is an excellent film. But, not just because it is smartly written, splendidly acted, and directed with just the right touch so as to make you feel as if you are watching life unfold in the lives of people who would be shocked to find you there, uninvited. It is also an excellent film because it takes up important subjects like forgiveness, healing, courage, and grace. It gets at the ironic beauty and pain of life without being heavy-handed and melodramatic. I went to see this film three I don't speak French, I spent the first screening reading it. The second time I watched the sheer nakedness of the performances. The third time, I was able to catch the nuances of its visual storytelling. At no point in these screenings was I bored. Nor did I feel I was seeing the same moments repeated. This film deserves that kind of attention.
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45 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Trevar A. Chilver on January 13, 2009
Format: DVD
While I've never been such a Philistine as to decline to see a film because it is in an unknown language and I'd have to read the subtitles, there is usually a sense of emotional distance when you have to read the words yourself. In the case of I've Loved You So Long, I felt no such distance. Indeed, this is the first time I've cried in a movie since... I don't know when. Sure, I am a callous bastard, but I often find myself moved by a film, only, rarely do I find myself as moved as I was by this one.

I've Loved You So Long focuses on the story of Juliette Fontaine coming from prison to live with her sister, who was a young adolescent when she was incarcerated. The tensions of living with an extended family are exacerbated by Juliette's personality, which it is accepted is altered by her time in gaol. Philippe Claudel's story is beautifully structured to release just as much information as is necessary to keep you interested, while retaining just enough mystery to keep you on the edge of your seat.

I have never seen a French film that I haven't liked, but I have also never seen a French film of this calibre. It is an outstanding piece of storytelling, full of pathos and charm.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Z Hayes HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on March 22, 2009
Format: DVD
"I've Loved You So Long" is a French-language movie that stars Kristin Scott Thomas as a woman haunted by her past. Having served prison time for 15 years for murder, Juliette Fontaine is released on parole and goes to live with her younger sister, Lea [Elsa Zylberstein] who was only a teenager when Juliette was sent to prison. Juliette finds it awkward reconnecting with people, and it's especially hard as Lea is married and has two adopted Vietnamese daughters, and a father-in-law who is recovering from a stroke. Things are made more difficult by Lea's husband Michel who can't reconcile with Juliette's living with them, considering the crime she committed. I won't give too much of the plot away, as this is a movie that unfolds slowly and rewards the patient viewer with all the necessary information in good time.

The plot may seem slow in revealing the details one wishes to know, such as the unspeakable crime Juliette has committed and why she is such a tormented, distant soul, but this actually worked for me as Juliette's character is fully- developed here and the viewer is rewarded with one of the most poignant and nuanced performance by an actress. Kristin Scott-Thomas is remarkable in this movie, and her French is excellent [there is also an English audio option in which she actually does the dubbing for her part]. Her portrayal of a fragile and tormented woman who is haunted by her past and struggling to go on with her life on a daily basis is nothing short of amazing. She truly deserved the Golden Globe nomination for her performance. Elsa Zylberstein is also very credible as lea, Juliette's compassionate younger sister who tries her best to penetrate the wall of silence Juliette has erected around her.
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