The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Sony Classic Pictures - 2008
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 117 Minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Audio Format(s): French/English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Starring: Kristin Scott Thomas, Elsa Zylberstein, Serge Hazanavicus, Laurent Grevill, Frederic Pierrot,
Written & Directed by: Philippe Claudel
Music by: Jean-Louis Aubert
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: March 3, 2009
"Sometimes forgiveness has to come from within"
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 years in prison for an unspeakable crime, she's back on the "outside." With nowhere else to go, she comes to live with her loving but estranged sister Lea (Elsa Zylberstein). Together the sisters embark on a painful but redemptive journey back from life's darkest edge in this gripping drama of struggle and salvation.
I’ve loved you so long is slow moving but engaging story about a woman named Juliette (Thomas) who is sent to prison for 15 years after being convicted of a heinous crime. In her past life she was a wife, sister, mother, and doctor. Now she is only an empty shell of her former self. After her release she goes to live with her estranged younger sister Lea who is married with two children. Juliette is sullen, depressed and uneasy around Lea and her family. She withdraws when approached by the inquisitiveness of Lea’s two young daughters. Lea’s elderly father in law also resides with them. He doesn’t speak and loves to spend hours reading. He seems to be the only member of the household that Juliette is at ease with. As part of her parole she must check in with the local police weekly and find employment. Her relationship with Lea is strained and she feels as though her sister abandoned her when she went away. Lea wants to reconnect with her sister but there seems to be an underlying and deep rooted pain that acts like a barrier that prevents them from truly open discussion. Her first attempt at employment was abruptly terminated during the interview when she revealed the reason for her imprisonment. She eventually obtains a steady job, makes a friendly connection with the police lieutenant she reports to each week and slowly begins to allow Lea and her family in. She remains troubled at heart and avoids discussion of the matter with her sister. One day while straightening up in Juliette’s room Lea makes a startling discovery that offers a clue which will lead her to the answers surrounding Juliette’s imprisonment and the unspeakable pain that rests within her.
I thought this was an interesting, character driven film that featured a very strong performance by Kristin Scott Thomas. She seemed to capture the essence of this deeply troubled woman whose life needed to have meaning again. The script did a great job of slowly building as it intentionally keeps you in the dark about what transpired before she went away to prison. It allows the audience the chance to bond with her even though what she has done is revealed early on. After that the question isn’t what she did but why and that is where the crux of the story’s impact lies. It moves a bit slowly but hanging in there it’s worth it.
The rating is for thematic material and smoking.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
I’ve loved you so long comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 23 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel audio that has an average bitrate of 1.3 mbps.
This is a reference quality video presentation that vividly translated the elements represented in this film. The 1.85:1 framed video was exquisitely detailed and lifelike which provided a transparent perspective when looking at objects and people onscreen. Images had a near infinite visual dimension that was impressive. Colors had excellent depth and tonal balance that allowed them to either pop when appropriate or remain less prominent when not essential. Fleshtones had lifelike tonal quality that resulted in realistically depicted complexions that looked great. Contrast was strong without overcooking brightly lit scenes and washing out whites. Blacks were noise free with deep highlights and good dynamic range. Shadow delineation was a good as I have seen and enhanced detail perception in low light which offered incredible depth of field. An example can be seen in chapter 10 as Michel and Juliette stand in the back yard in the failing dusk light near smoldering camp fire embers. The individual blades/uneven surface of the grass and the rough texture in the bark on the trees were clearly discernible. The staggered positioning of the trees within the shot had appreciable three dimensional depth. The video has a pristine and grain free texture that looked more like high definition video than film although I was unable to verify how it was shot. Regardless it looked absolutely stunning.
Both English (dubbed) and French Dolby TrueHD audio options are offered. I opted for the English subtitled French track during my evaluation. The soundtrack is almost entirely dialogue driven aside from a brief sequence where Lea and Juliette visit a local dance club. That scene did provide a nice sense of surround envelopment with a subtle low end kick that pulsed along with the music. Otherwise things remained front oriented with dialogue clearly and centrally focused. The remaining sounds and off camera spatial cues were spread across the front three channels and corresponded well with the onscreen events.
- 7 deleted scenes with optional commentary by Writer/Director Philippe Claudel
- (HD) Theatrical trailer
- (HD) 8 BD Previews
- BD-Live enabled
I’ve loved you so long is a good film that has a singular focus which is enhanced by the strength of the story and the performances by the cast. I was impressed with Kristin Scott Thomas and appreciated the depth that she gave Juliette both mentally and physically. True to form, Sony has delivered this film to Blu-ray Disc featuring a visually striking high definition presentation that looks superb. Bonus content is noticeably lacking however that may be attributable to the origin of the film rather than a lack of inclusion on Sony’s part. If you can find this movie at your favorite rental location I would recommend that you give it a spin.
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