Device converter



Classified ads

Put an ad on this website

Recently added

articles > Culture events

I've loved you so long

I've loved you so long

By Joffre Agnes

"I've loved you so long" is a French film directed by Philippe Claudel and starring Kristin Scott Thomas and Elsa Zilberstein on general release in London from 26th September.

Some sneak previews on Sunday 21th!

After seeing "I've loved you so long" makes you quite uncomfortable, not because of the story itself but because of the contradictory feelings one experiences. Juliette has just spent 15 years in prison. Confronted with the unexpected  kindness of her younger sister, Léa, who immediately makes Juliette part of her family, very slowly breaks up the Juliette's ice and bitterness, she carefully opens up.


I've loved you so long
I've loved you so long

"I've loved you so long" deals with riveting issues such as confinement, love, family, secrets, loneliness. The main questions are: "How could we love someone who has committed a monstrous act?", "What is a family?" We could see in it either, from a psychological point of view, the story of two sisters trying to recreate bonds after such a long separation and such a terrible past or, from a sociological angle, the fight of a human being coming out from jail and facing the world again. Anyway, this is a film about women, as Philippe Claudel says "about the strength that women have, their capacity to shine forth, reconstruct themselves and be reborn."

I've loved you so long - Juliette
I've loved you so long - Juliette


And the portraits of the two women, Léa and Juliette played by Elsa Zylberstein and Kristin Scott Thomas are magnificent. These characters are deep, moving and well embodied. Juliette just comes out from prison and it seems that she has taken on the colours of its walls both inside and out. She is secret, almost suffering from mutism. She is there without being there. Kristin Scott Thomas is amazing, she gives off such an awkwardness, a false cheerfulness, a smiling looking face but which is constantly on the verge of tears. Juliette is ambiguous, she had committed a monstrous act but she remains deeply attaching. She is a complex and disturbing character which reveals incredible strength.

I've loved you so long - Léa
I've loved you so long - Léa

Elsa Zylberstein is perfect too, opposite Kristin Scott Thomas. Her character, Léa is a good person, very touching. She tries to give support to her sister, to bring her back to life. She tries desperatly to remember her past which she has buried deep down into her subconsciousness. She has strong guilt-feelings for not having visited her whilts in prison. She also feels guilt for having carried on her own life as normal. We do discover however, later on, that she has never forgotten Juliette and has been unhappy without her. She is a character of tears and self-sacrifice.

I've loved you so long
I've loved you so long


However, the supporting roles are unequal. Some of them are deep and interesting like Michel, played by Laurent Grévill, one of Léa's colleagues and friend who quickly guesses Juliette's secret. In fact he has been an outcast just like Juliette and he is a secret character too. He and Juliette are like mirrors and both, little by little begin to reconstruct themselves. The others supporting roles are a bit neglected, even 'cliché' sometimes. One of the film scene looks especially unauthentic. All the characters are in the countryside and one of Léa's friends asks Juliette where she was before and why they never met. The unrest is huge but he keeps asking about it relentlessly... which turns out to sound non-credible. In fact most of the supporting roles seem to be here just to emphasise Kristin Scott Thomas' character. What a shame! All the reactions facing such a character would have been interesting.


This could have been a great film but the outcome is deeply disappointing. The interest of the movie is in Juliette's enigmatic nature, in her ambivalence but Philippe Claudel doesn't have the grit to assume it until the end. Maybe the audience would prefer to get rid of this disturbing ambivalence and that would explain why the outcome is so moralistic, conventional and well-thinking. A lack of audace kills this so beautiful film in the last few minutes... It is so frustrating!


For more information about previews please click here



23/09/2008 - patriciaconnell said :

Loved the film despite the disappointing end.


Comments are moderated. They are displayed after an administrator validation.


You can reload the captcha by clicking on it