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on 17 September 2017
Utter perfection on every level. Understatedly brutal and bittersweet. Everything I expect and more from this genre.
Ripped my gut from me, slowly and gently. Pure class.
Others before me have given a better critique. I'll say no more.

EXCEPT... I gave up smoking seven years ago. But as this movie ended, the first thing I did was light up. Hopefully an isolated incident.
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on 14 May 2017
this DVD arrived very quickly and was well protected. Once started I couldn't wait to get to the end, hoping it would be a happy ending but it wasn't, so not a film to watch if you are feeling sad!
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on 2 June 2017
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on 18 August 2017
Very good .
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VINE VOICEon 7 June 2013
A poem to someone they love-'I've Loved You So Long'. The beginning or the end of an extraordinary journey, depends on how you look at this.

Juliette played by Kristen Scott Thomas is picked up at the airport by her sister. Both sisters have been long lost- one to prison, Juliette; the other, Lea to a family who removed Juliette from their lives. They pick up as Juliette moves into Lea's home with her husband, two children and a father-in-law who cannot speak as a result of a stroke. How does one go about learning to live a life after 15 years in prison, with difficulty. Along the way, Juliette meets people who help her move into the mainstream. Along the way comes difficulties, how to explain those missing 15 years, the aloofness, the inability to connect with others.

Kristin Scott Thomas is extraordinary in this role. She is able to convey with a flick of her eyes or a downward glance the emotions of a woman just barely able to breathe. The supporting cast is perfect- a caring sister, a brother-in-law who is not trusting and two children who love their aunt, just because. Juliette reports weekly to a probation officer who may be one of the few who understand her old world and how to come to terms with her new world. The men she meets along her journey- she does not give her heart freely.

"Anton Chekhov, the Russian author whose works famously presented major emotions in a minor key, finding hard nuggets of truth in the small details of everyday life. And Kristen Scott Thomas is Chekhovian in every manner." Peter Travers

This is a flawless role for Kristin Scott Thomas. She is the film, this is a master class in fine acting.

Highly Recommended. prisrob 06-06-13
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VINE VOICEon 29 September 2009
French film has a tradition of featuring bourgeoises whose lives are very different from most of us. They have safe jobs that permit them many of the luxuries of life, they discuss politics and the arts over dinner, and they spend the weekends in the country in lovely old country houses; life, in short, has built them to worry about something less mundane than everyone else. Out of this soup of convention pops a chewy bit in the shape of Kristin Scott Thomas, a woman with a Terrible Past encountering the difficulties of getting a job as an ex-con and to re-entering non-institutional life. It is as if Mike Leigh has invaded Eric Rohmer. Scott Thomas does very well at projecting repressed anger, sadness and fragility against a background of normality. She wanders along holding up a mirror to the rest of the players; the tragic policeman always searching for the Orinocco, the pathetic boss encouraging teamwork with a threat, the liberal brother-in-law with more than a hint of the Daily Mail in his responses. The denouement is satisfying but charged with emotion and played by the two sisters to perfection.
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VINE VOICEon 13 August 2009
It's a rarity nowadays, but films like these really make you think about life, and how we perceive things, like whether this blu-ray is a classic, well I think it is, because after renting it, I ordered it, and that's a rarity for me. This film touched me, the sincerity, the fact it's not all coloured to suit the cinema, and the fact it's not glamorised or dressed up, and covered in make up make this a real treasure - and finding it has really opened my eyes to the way we perceive life, our bond with family, and the way we see criminality.

Kristin Scott-Thomas is amazing as Juliette - a red-eyed timid woman who has come back to the family after being away for so long, and coming back to Léa's home, and we see how Juliette rebuilds her life, and how she feels in life - all beautifully told without special effects, which makes this such an important piece of cinema for me. The realness, tenderness, and almost classical way of direction, photography and script really put this above anything else - this is surely in my top ten.

This Blu-Ray really does the film justice too, the beautiful colours flow nicely on-screen, and the picture is sharp - and the sound is excellent, though I found the PCM track too quiet on my system, so I used the surround sound 5.1 - which is ample in my opinion. The subtitles (which I didn't use) were clear and well set out on the picture, and the framing is perfect.

The extras - though not many are just superb, an interview with Philippe Claudel, writer and director is quite compelling, and lasts over an hour. There are something like 5 deleted scenes, and to me they were really not needed - so good call by Claudel.

This really is a masterpiece - the whole crew have done such a superb job. Don't rent this, buy it, you'll never regret it. Wish I could tell you more about the movie, but that would spoil it and I feel that would be criminal to do so.
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on 9 August 2017
Totally preposterous ending, but the plot is so cheesy, and the characterisation so clichéd and unreal, that the film had nowhere else to go. Strictly a chick flick. Kristin Scott Thomas does her best to make her character believable but the ending is so pat and contrived, that even her efforts cannot save this from being two hours wasted.
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on 26 June 2009
I need to watch a movie like this once in a while. Otherwise I might never cry. And crying is cathartic.

French cinema is about relationships. I wonder how it became so intensely about relationships in a way that no other national cinema is about relationships. I don't know. This one is the about the relationship between sisters done in a way that I have never seen before. And that I like. I am so bored with reprises and remakes of themes, as good as they sometimes are. This is not about sisterhood politically. And thank you for that. It is about real sisterhood under confusing and difficult circumstances, when there is estrangement for very good reasons, yet there is love to overcome whatever it is that causes the distance.

In this case Juliette (Kristin Scott Thomas) has been released after 15 years in prison. Her younger sister Lea (Elsa Zylberstein) who always adored her and looked up to her takes her in. She has her own family, two adopted Vietnamese girls, a husband and a father who is old and can no longer speak. Naturally bringing Juliette into their household is risky. What has Juliette done and why? It is really unspeakable and yet Lea believes like all "bleeding hearts" that her sister is essentially good and whatever happened happened for a reason, and so do we in the audience. Kristin Scott Thomas plays this part of the film with a long, suffering face and the sort of resignation that comes with complete defeat. So we know. Whatever happened to her, whatever she did was forced upon her by the fates. What we don't know is exactly what that was.

I cannot say enough about the exquisite performances by both Kristin Scott Thomas and Elsa Zylberstein. The direction by Philippe Claudel was, in the French manner, focused on people and who they are, done unobtrusively in the best invisible style in which the story and the characters are what we see without directorial distraction. We are lost in the story and the existential conflict between what we are and what is thought of us by others. We are caught between the appearance of life and the reality.
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VINE VOICEon 14 April 2009
Juliette (Kristin Scott Thomas) has been away for many years and has come to live with her estranged sister in France. Juliette is withdrawn and silent and only slowly adapts to her new life. Over time, we come to know where she's been and why she is so traumatized.

This French film has an intimate, art house-feeling to it; it's all about unraveling Juliette's secret in spite of her sullenness and silence. Thomas, who often plays disdainful posh women, is wonderful as the haunted Juliette. We sympathize with her even before we learn her secret; afterward, we feel her pain and loss. Though Juliette is a woman of very few words, her tortured face reveals the agony within.

The story is a moody mystery with touching performances and a poignant script. If you love the pretty French children's song, "A la Claire Fontaine," you'll be humming it for days after watching this movie. It's sad and delicate and will have you wondering what you would do in Juliette's situation. In French with English subtitles (I tried listening to it in English but thought it was much better in French, and Thomas' French is very good.)
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