OK, I know we don’t all share tastes in things like music, tv, & movies, but I watched a winner last night. It was I’ve Loved You So Long starring Kristen Scott Thomas. I don’t want to tell you too much about the plot, because the slow revelation of backstory was part of the brilliance of it for me, but here’s the premise: Thomas’ character, Juliette, has just been released from prison after serving 15 years. She’s surprised and softened by the love of her younger sister, who takes Juliette in to live with her family until she (Juliette) gets back on her feet. I’ve talked with some of you about my love/hate feelings for the book My Sister’s Keeper. Although that premise was interesting and I came to care for the characters, I left the book feeling manipulated by the author. I felt like some of the plot was contrived and twisted to wrench our tears in an unnatural way. I couldn’t help but compare the two stories after watching this movie last night.
Both are about complicated relationships and roles, primarily motherhood and sisterhood. However, in Loved You So Long, the characters discover each other as we discover them. Their flaws, their strengths, their prejudices, their secrets and their growth are revealed in a slow, sometimes awkward, way, rather than huge, dramatic moments of angst and pain. When the heartwrenching moment comes (and boy, does it come: I sobbed), I feel like the writer earned my tears, rather than tricked them out of me. At the core, I think it is a story of healing. The acting was amazing. Juliette’s cold personae leaves you dying of curiosity about her crime and wondering whether you should cheer for her or despise her. The Heartwrenching Moment I mentioned earlier is only aced by a scene between Juliette and her alzeihmer’s stricken mother. It left me absolutely raw. And I loved listening to the French! Oh yeah, it’s subtitled, if that matters to you. So, check it out and let me know what you think!