Movie Review

Let the Sunshine In (2017) by Claire Denis

Original Name: Un beau soleil intérieur

Director: Claire Denis

Runtime: 94 minutes

Language: French

IMDB Link:

Right at the beginning of Let the Sunshine in, we see Isabelle (the magnificent Juliette Binoche) lying in bed, naked. She’s making love but she doesn’t enjoy it. Through the rest of duration, we’d see that metaphorically naked Isabelle struggles again and again with finding true love. This film is Claire Denis’s own take on rom-com, without all the natural beats of the genre. Many has compared this work to Nancy Meyer’s brand of romantic comedy, which I consider it as an apt comparison. Sunshine is a film about the relationship life of middle-age single woman Isabelle. We never get a full depiction of her various love affairs, but merely a snapshot of each of her relationship.

The duration of the film depicts romantic encounters with various types of men, most end up miserably for our Isabelle. At first, she engages in a casual relationship with a married man. If that isn’t already bad enough, the guy is a real prick (played wonderfully by Xavier Beauvois, whom you might know as a director of Of Gods and Men (2010). At one time she finds herself in a one-night relationship with another married man, whom chicken out the next day. Or at other time she’s in relationship with a man who is below her status, and that remains fine until she’s influenced by the concerns of her friend. These are painfully honest, and occasionally humorous that make the film mature in a surprising light touch. Juliette Binoche is the main key for this film’s success. She’s always been known as an actress who can manage wide range of emotions, but here she manages to nail the role of women in the middle of her romance crisis, not only vulnerable but also vivid and full of life. She’s the kind of character who struggle to find anything meaningful with her romantic life, but the film shows us in most occasions it’s the result of her bad choice or her being overly harsh on the ones truly love her. But that’s exactly why she feels so true to life.

If the film keeps focusing on Isabelle jumping over many partners, it’d have had a greater score. Instead, the last 10 minutes with the cameo of Depardieu sucks the life out of the film. Not only he literally appears with no context, he feels terribly out of place to the the flow of the film. He says all these pretentious lines that makes his character even more unbearable. I’m never fond of his acting, and here he doesn’t raise my opinion much. Isabella, on the other hand, sucks into his words and it’s one of the rare occasions the we see her smile. She’s pleased because it’s all she wanted to hear and it strongly suggests that this Depardieu character will try his way to hook on her. Being romantic type at heart we know for sure that Isabella never truly gets out of her circle of fruitless love.

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