I’VE LOVED YOU SO LONG (Il y a longtemps que je t’aime) (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

March 1, 2009 by  

“An amazing, powerful and yet heartbreaking film featuring a spectacular performance by Kristin Scott Thomas.”

Images courtesy of © 2008 UGC YM. All Rights Reserved.

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


DURATION: 117 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: English 5.1, French (Parisian) 5.1

COMPANY: Sony Pictures Classics

RATED: PG-13 (for thematic material and smoking)

Released on March 3, 2009

Written and Directed by Philippe Claudel

Produced by Yves Marmion

Music Composed by Jean-Louis Aubert

Cinematographer: Jerome Almeras

Assistant Director: Julien Zidi

Sets: Samuel Deshors

Film Editor: Virginie Bruant

Sound Engineer: Pierre Lenoir

Music: Gerard Kamps

Executive Producer: Sylvestre Guarino

Post-Production Director: Abraham Goldblat


Kristin Scott Thomas as Juliette Fontaine

Elsa Zylberstein as Lea

Serge Hazanavicius as Luc

Laurent Grevill as Michel

Frederic Pierrot as Capitaine Faure

Claire Johnstone as La mere de Juliette et Lea

Catherine Hosmalin as La conseillere d’insertion

Jean-Claude Arnaud as Papy Paul

Olivier Cruveiller as Gerard

Lise Segur as P’tit Lys

Mouss as Samir

Souad Mouchrik as Kaisha

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.

Amazing, powerful and yet hearbreaking!  A spectacular performance by Hellen Scott Thomas!

The film is about a woman named Juliette Fontaine (Kristin Scott Thomas) who is released from prison after serving 15-years for murder.

She comes to stay with her sister Lea (Elsa Zylberstein) and her family and since the crime, she hasn’t really been too talkative, in fact, she has been quite detached.

No one, including her sister knows why Juliette committed such an unspeakable crime and for Lea, it has put a strain on her marriage because as a mother of two young children, her husband Luc (Serge Hazanavicius) feels very awkward of a her staying with them or even being around their kids.

But for Juliette, she’s trying her best to get her life back but she realizes that getting a job because of her crime is difficult.

And for her young sister Lea, it’s so difficult for her because the last time she saw her sister, she was young and because of her crime, she was literally forced by her parents to forget about her.  But yet she feels compassion for her sister and hoping one day that she would finally reveal to her about the crime.

While applying for jobs, she is constantly asked what her crime was and it is revealed that she killed her six-year-old son.  It is also revealed that at one time, Juliette was a doctor.  But it doesn’t seem to matter anymore.  She’s just a woman who must get her life back together and she has her sister and her family, her parole officer Capitane Faure (Frederic Pierrot) who appears to have his own problems post-divorce and Lea’s co-worker Michel (Laurent Grevill) who has taken a liking towards Juliette.

The film is well-written and well-acted and is carefully paced to showcase the levels of emotions and torment that Juliette is feeling after she gets out of prison, having to be around Lea’s children and ultimately and finally understanding why a mother would kill her son.

Living with this torment, will Juliette ever come out of her darkness or will she forever be haunted by the murder?

The levels that Helen Scott Thomas had to portray for Juliette is just astounding and the supporting cast, especially Elsa Zylberstein’s role as the sister Lea, who is estranged from her sister but wanting to connect with her but also help her through her difficult times, everything just works fantastically.


“I’VE LOVED YOU SO LONG” is a film that has been released both on Blu-ray and DVD.  The film is presented in a 1:85:1 aspect ratio via anamorphic widescreen and with a film shot in Paris, there are some beautiful outdoor shots but a lot of the shots are indoor and takes place in the home of Lea and Luc.  I don’t recall seeing any tremendous amount of grain nor any artifacts.  The film looked very good on DVD and I would assume even more on Blu-ray.

As for audio, this film is strictly dialogue.  No need for special effects, nor are their any action scenes.  It’s a film based on emotions and thus, everything is heard clearly via the front channels of your speakers.  Audio is presented in French and English 5.1 (Dolby Digital).  The English language version features the voice of Kristin Scott Thomas but the acting in the original French language was my preference and again, acting was well-done for this film.


This DVD features one special feature and that is deleted scenes featuring optional commentary by Director Philippe Claudel.  Most of the scenes revolve around how much pressure on Lea and specifically Luc who is not thrilled about her staying with them around their kids.  Also, several alternate scenes that I’m glad were not used in the film.

“I’VE LOVED YOU SO LONG” is such a powerful and emotional yet heartbreaking film.  I was very impressed between the performances by both Kristin Scott Thomas and Elsa Zylberstein.  But Kristin Scott Thomas was just stunning!

To play a role with such pain and torment and slowly coming out of that darkness was just well-done.

The film is well-written but I have to admit that the film does take a while in order to get to the final reveal.   Director and writer Philippe Claudel really takes his time to let the viewer know about the crime, about her former profession and of course why she committed the crime.

Also, I enjoyed the correlations of paintings.  While watching the film, I’ve asked myself if certain scenes were constructed almost like a painting, artistic in a manner of how you see a person’s sorrow through a painting and you see that sorrow with Juliette, and was happy to find out through the optional commentary that the Director Phillipe Claudel definitely intended that and even had more scenes that would relate to a painting but felt there were more than enough in the final cut.

Now, is the film perfect?    Let me just say that I loved the film.  It was a powerful film but playing the devil’s advocate, for a second, for this type of crime, especially when revealed at the end of why.  Without spoiling the film… Would a person be incarcerated for that long especially around the details of what transpired?  No compassion by the court?  Even by her ex-husband?  That was my main conflict after having reflected on the film.  But I’m not going to let that take away from how wonderful a film “I’VE LOVED YOU SO LONG” truly is.

Overall, “I’VE LOVED YOU SO LONG” is just a tremendous film.  Highly recommended!

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