Though she is not a traditional Hollywood beauty, Kristin Scott Thomas has a face that the camera loves. She is able to portray complex emotions with almost imperceptible changes in her facial features, and it’s fascinating to watch.
In “I’ve Loved You So Long,” Thomas plays a woman who has just been released from jail after fifteen years. The sister (Elsa Zylberstein) who was just a kid when she went in gives her a place to stay, and a place in her young family. We learn small details about Thomas’ crime, but the movie wants much more to be about recovery and forgiveness than to dwell in the past.
The direction is bright and elegant, and the two actresses are remarkably in sync throughout most of their scenes. Near the end comes a revelation about the crime and the criminal that throws open the floodgates; I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether it’s satisfying or a little too convenient.
British by birth and famous for her roles in Brit flicks like “The English Patient” and “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” Scott Thomas lives in France and considers herself French. Her reappearance of late taking on big roles in French cinema marks the return of a great talent to the screen. “I’ve Loved You So Long” is her best film to date.
(PS – “I’ve Loved You So Long” has one of my favorite small parts of recent memory in it — played by Jean-Claude Arnaud, he is the old man in the house, silent, always cheerful, always reading. He was a joy to watch.)