il y a longtemps que je t’aime (i’ve loved you for so long)
a quiet, insightful performance by kristin scott thomas. not many actors can have the camera glued to them for the major duration of a film and come out unscathed. daniel day lewis did it in “there will be blood” and scott thomas does it in this film.
elsa zylberstein plays her sister lea in the film. she creates a nervous, touchingly vulnerable character – a lovely contrast to scott thomas’s emotionally shut down juliette. the first half of the film is quite flawless and flows with the perfect light and control of a vermeer. in fact the film derives many of its analogies from art. the second half seemed a bit contrived. juliette’s gradual resuscitation (after having been imprisoned for a horrible crime) seems a bit accelerated and the final resolution (when a much awaited secret is divulged) is simply weak.
the film’s use of music and its editing are quite modern and more reminiscent of american filmmaking (director todd field came to mind) than what we instinctively expect from french cinema. a refreshing change.
probably one of ron howard’s best movies. the same actors who turned frost/nixon into a successful play on broadway, carry the ball in frost/nixon the movie. i was impressed by frank langella’s performance. nixon was odd-looking, awkward, larger than life. he is so easy to caricature. for example, anthony hopkins did an awful job of it in oliver stone’s movie. but langella doesn’t imitate the man. he inhabits him. his performance is masterful. not only does he capture some of nixon’s quirks but he also conveys his enormous intelligence and humor, his overblown ego, his wariness and ultimately his acceptance of defeat. he makes nixon human and elevates the film from historical cliché to fascinating character study.