I’ve Loved You So Long (Il y a longtemps que je t’aime) (2008)

I went to a movie at the Sydney Travelling Film Festival in Dubbo last night, which just so happened to be the last movie – I’ve Loved You So Long.

I've Loved You So Long poster

“Léa (Elsa Zylberstein) and Juliette (Kristin Scott Thomas) are sisters. The film begins with Léa, the younger sister by fifteen years, picking Juliette up at the airport. We soon realize that the two sisters are almost complete strangers to each other. Juliette has just been released from prison after serving a long sentence. Léa was still a teenager when Juliette, a doctor, was sent off to prison.  Léa contacted Juliette when she was released and suggested that Juliette come to live with her. Juliette had no particular desire to see her sister again.Luc (Serge Hazanavicius), Léa’s husband, is quite reserved, almost hostile, about Juliette’s presence under their roof. Luc and Léa have two adopted Vietnamese daughters, who are 8 and 3 years old. Luc’s father, Papy Paul (Jean-Claude Arnaud) also lives in the house. He’s a charming old man who spends all of his time reading since a stroke deprived him of the power of speech.Life together isn’t easy to begin with. Juliette has to relearn certain basics. The world has moved on and she often seems confused. Although she may seem cold and distant, her attitude stems more from her being ill at ease. Helped by some, such as the kindly but tactless social worker and her open-hearted but depressed parole officer (Frédéric Pierrot) whose confidante she becomes, Juliette is also rejected by others, particularly employers who throw her out as soon as they find out what she did.Léa’s attitude is ambiguous. She avoids talking about Juliette’s time in prison at all costs. She wants nothing to blunt the happiness of their reunion and getting to know each other again. Luc mentions it reproachfully, as does Juliette in a different way.Gradually, the real Juliette emerges. She opens up to the world once more, thanks to her two nieces, with whom she becomes very close after being very stiff with them at the beginning, and Michel (Laurent Grevill), a friend of Léa’s, and Papy Paul, who, in a more symbolic way, knows what it’s like to be locked away.  Juliette gets a job as a medical secretary at the local hospital on the condition that she never mentions she used to be a doctor. Her relationship with Léa becomes much stronger and more intimate. Even Luc succeeds in pushing his preconceptions to one side and seeing Juliette as his sister-in-law, not as someone who just spent 15 years in prison.But a huge question hangs over Juliette’s renaissance. What terrible thing did she do fifteen years ago and why? For all the others, it’s a recurrent thought that they dare not put into words. And for Juliette, locked away in her secret, it’s a burden to bear, which holds her back from engaging in her life and believing that she too has the right to be happy.”



The cast

Kristin Scott ThomasKristin Scott Thomas (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Mission: Impossible, The English Patient, Gosford Park, The Golden Compass, The Other Boelyn Girl, Easy Virtue, Confessions of a Shopaholic)…..Juliette 


Elsa ZylbersteinElsa Zylberstein (Jefferson in Paris)…..Léa 





Lea and Juliette in I've Loved You So Long


Serge Hazanavicius

Serge Hazanavicius…..Luc

Laurent GrevillLaurent Grevill…..Michel




Frédéric Pierrot….Fauré
Lise Ségur…..P’tit Lys
Jean-Claude Arnaud…..Papy Paul
Mouss Zouheyri…..Samir
Souad Mouchrik…..Kaisha
Catherine Hosmalin…..The teacher
Claire Jonhston…..Juliette and Léa’s Mother
Olivier Cruvellier…..Gérard


Writer and Director – Phillipe Claudel


A few things I wold like to say –

…this movie is perfect.  There is not a single thing that about it I would change.

…it is mysterious, sad (many people in the cinema were crying), funny and beautiful.

…all of the acting is excellent, especially that of Kristin Scott Thomas and Elsa Zylberstein.

…and, I don’t know what it was, but something about the cinematography reminded me of As Time Goes By.  I know that that is a very strange comparison to draw, but I mean it in a good way.


While I’ve Loved You So Long is definitely not my favourite movie ever, it is very well done and is worth seeing.


Links   I’ve Loved You So Long at sonyclassics.com   Rotten Tomatoes    www.ivelovedyousolong.co.uk


~ by vanityandpride on April 6, 2009.

2 Responses to “I’ve Loved You So Long (Il y a longtemps que je t’aime) (2008)”

  1. I think this is one of the most powerful films I’ve ever seen. It’s a discredit to the Oscars that Kristin Scott Thomas didn’t get a nomination for her riveting performance in the film. I’ve also written a review on it (just click the movie poster on my side bar). From the comments I’m amazed to see how universal the film’s appeal is, moving audience from all over the world.

  2. Thanks for commenting, Arti.

    I agree that KST should have been nominated. She was so wonderful!

    I think that the characters are so real and easy to relate to that anyone, no matter who they are or where they live, will be touched by this movie.

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