Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|I've Loved You So Long |
Actor: Kristin Scott Thomas
Genres: Indie & Art House, Drama
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 ... more »
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'Cinema Verite' at its finest, presented in crystal-clear HD
Matthew T. Weflen | Chicago, IL | 05/02/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
I don't want to spoil this film for you, as a great deal of enjoyment is to be had in the slow unfolding of its characters' lives to the viewer. So, in the briefest terms possible, it is about a French woman who is returning to society after a stay in prison. Through the course of the film we see the main character Juliette (Kristin Scott Thomas) attempt to reintegrate herself into the world of her sister and her sister's family.
It's hard to find the superlatives for Kristin Scott Thomas' work here. Simply put, she is an actor of the highest rank. She completely inhabits her character, and gives us exactly what we need to have a look into the character's soul, but without bludgeoning us over the head with obviousness, as some actors are wont to do. Every facial muscle is in her control, giving us slight twitches and smiles, movements of eyelids, all of the cues we would see in a real person of our acquaintance, that we would use to clue us in to their internal state.
Equally good is the writing. Instead of bald-faced expository scenes, we are given the story in the sort of real conversational threads that we might be presented with if we were a fly on the wall, not a stupid audience member being instructed. There is no narration, no summary, just real scenes, as if we were witnessing them in real life. This was very refreshing, when so many films deign to hold the viewer's hand through the entire run time.
In concert, the acting, the writing, and the directing/cinematography create what is called "cinema verite." Nothing pulls you out of the reality of the portrait we are given of the character. It is utterly absorbing, and the desire to find out everything easily propels the viewer through the 1:50 teleplay.
Sony has presented us with a video transfer that, at first, I thought was shot on video. The reason I thought this was that there was such clarity of detail and dimensionality to the picture that it couldn't be from celluloid. In fact, this movie was shot on film. A very slight but persistent grain structure is evident upon closer inspection, and it is very nice that they did not slather the image with digital noise reduction, but instead left it the way it is.
Detail starts out stunning, and generally holds up throughout the film. This is a movie with a lot of close ups of faces and hands, and it really makes you look at people differently - so many movies are spit-shined, air-brushed, and stars are made up to within an inch of their lives. Here, we see every wrinkle, vein, sinew, knuckle, and dark circle under an eye. It is perhaps a little jarring at first, but eventually I was reminded that this, in fact, is how real people look. This realism adds to the aforementioned "you are there" feeling.
There are a few scenes which get a tiny bit soft, but they are few and far between. Overall, this is a sterling HD presentation. The depth and clarity of the image help the process of drawing the viewer in - complementing an amazing performance to a tee.
Audio is unspectacular, but this is of course and extremely dialogue-driven film. French and English dubs are available, with the English dub featuring Thomas' vocal work, in a nice touch. I would recommend the French track with subtitles, though, since almost the entire film is acted in French, including all of Thomas' lines. Extras include a few deleted scenes.
So in the end, I suppose the questions are two: should you see this film? I would say that unreservedly, anyone who is a fan of acting, art, performance, drama, and realistic character portraits of human beings should see this film. If you want explosions and one-liners, you might be better served by a Nicolas Cage vehicle.
The other question is: should you own it? That's a bit thornier. After you've seen it once, you know the backstory of the main character, and thus a fair amount of your drive to see the film has been satisfied. Why watch it again?
Fans of Kristin Scott Thomas, or of truly great acting performances in general, should have this on their shelf. This is a two hour master class, pressed onto a disc.
Everyone else might benefit more from a rental. The subject matter is a bit of a downer, although there is a fair amount of bittersweet uplift by the end. It's not the kind of thing you'll pop in on a rainy day to liven things up."
"Death makes no excuses"-strong performance powers sad film
Wayne Klein | My Little Blue Window, USA | 04/04/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A moving, powerful drama "I've Loved You So Long" may not be for everyone but there's no disputing the craft in the film and the power in the BAFTA (the UK version of the Oscars)nominated performance of Kristin Scott Thomas ("The English Patient", "Four Weddings and A Funeral" and the forthcoming "Nowhere Boy" where she plays John Lennon's Aunt Mimi). Thomas plays Juliette who after fifteen yearsr in prison is suddenly and somewhat reluctantly reunited with her younger sister (Esla Zylberstein). Estranged from her family after she murders someone (I don't want to spoil the film for you), Philipe Claudel's film will capture your attention with the complex characters he has created for his film. The actors all do an outstanding job and Thomas who is British but has lived in France on and off for many years, gives a brilliant performance as a lost soul in French her second language--a very difficult task for most actors but here she tackles it with stunning realism completely inhabiting Juliette.
The Blu-ray looks stunning for the most part. There are a few scenes that are a bit soft looking but on the whole the detail, texture and colors in the film are brilliantly reproduced for Blu-ray. The film is in French with English subtitles and although there is an English dialog option (with Thomas providing her own voice and doing a stunning job there, too although the other performances are hit or miss). Audio sounds extremely good here although you need to be aware this isn't the type of film to give your 5.1 or 7.1 surround system a work out.
Extras are disappointing. While we do get deleted scenes with optional commentary from the director (in French with English subtitles), I would have liked a full commentary track (something I suspect they got overseas) with a second set of English subtitles for those of us who are a bit rusty at speaking French (or those of us who took Spanish). Aside from that we only get the original theatrical trailer (which is quite good)and previews. I would have loved to see featurettes (and if Sony is looking for volunteers to do the featurettes--I'll do them)focusing on the challenge of Thomas playing her role in what in French. I'd also like to have seen a featurette focusing on the inspiration of the film and the director's choices in the film--we see a couple of deleted/alternate scenes which were equally as powerful in their own way and while he explains why he went in another direction in the optional commentary, I would have liked to hear more about the process myself.
An incredibly, moving and sad film that has the hope of redemption, "I've Loved You So Long" should have earned Thomas an Oscar nod. All the performances are strong. My only complaint is that the editing is a bit eliptic at times with an occasional scene set up without resolution (on the other hand that also makes many moments of the film that much more tense), I found this to be a very involving movie."
Brilliant performance- but missing some logic
n.beth | Virginia | 04/12/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I was completely captivated by Kristin Scott Thomas's performance and the slow revealing of the backstory and the reason she was sent to prison for 15 long years. However, in spite of feeling this is a great movie, I was a bit leary of the reason she was sent away to prison in the end.... and especially that she had shared none of her findings with her husband at that time. That part made no sense since she was supposedly in a good marriage until the crime. And that no autopsy or anything was done which would obviously have also shown what she alone knew. That all seemed too pat for me. Her acting and the story unfolding demanded a more intricate ending."