Films & Schedules

  • Il y a longtemps que je t'aime
    I've Loved You So Long

  • Philippe Claudel

117 minutes

Production Company:
Sony Pictures Classics
Yves Marmion
Philippe Claudel
Production Designer:
Samuel Deshors
Jerome Almeras
Virginia Bunting
Pierre Lenoir, Stepane Brunclair
Jean-Louis Aubert
Principal Cast: Kristin Scott Thomas, Elsa Zylberstein, Serge Hazanavicius, Laurent Grevill, Frédéric Pierrot

Canadian Distributor:
Mongrel Media
US Distributor:
Sony Pictures Classics
International Sales Agent:
UGC International

Wednesday September 1008:00PM WINTER GARDEN THEATRE Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Friday September 1211:45AM SCOTIABANK THEATRE 4 Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist

Il y a longtemps que je t'aime tells the profoundly moving story of two sisters rediscovering their feelings of family after years of separation. Immediately following her release after serving a fifteen-year prison sentence for committing an inexplicable crime, Juliette (Kristin Scott Thomas) reunites with her sister Léa (Elsa Zylberstein), having not seen her since she was a child. Léa, who is now married with two adopted children, warmly accepts her older sister into her home, doing everything she can to reconstruct their stunted relationship. When asked by her elder daughter where her “auntie” Juliette has been all these years, Léa replies that she had gone away to England.

In her early attempts to readjust to society, Juliette makes several new acquaintances, including a friendly but depressive parole officer and a colleague of Léa's who develops a strong attraction to her. As Juliette struggles to find and maintain a job, overcome her demons and keep her dark secret under wraps from her sister's gossipy social circle, she finds it increasingly difficult to adapt to her newfound freedom.

Scott Thomas gives what can best be described as a career-defining performance, and Zylberstein has an equally commanding presence that greatly enhances the two characters' dynamic sibling relationship. Writer and first-time director Philippe Claudel (best known for his 2003 novel Les Âmes grises) has crafted extremely smart dialogue and visually gratifying compositions that offer additional coats of complexity. Given its serious subject matter, Il y a longtemps que je t'aime could have remained dramatically downbeat throughout, but Claudel interweaves flashes of dry humour and moments of uplifting warm-heartedness. As the pieces come together, however, we become increasingly absorbed by a sense of apprehension.

Taking flight from the sisters' relationship, Claudel's film reaches beyond family drama to craft a sophisticated examination of forgiveness.

Michèle Maheux

Philippe Claudel was born in Dombasle, France, and studied at l'Université Nancy, where he is currently a professor of literature. In addition to being a well-known author, he has written for French television, and he also co-wrote the screenplay for the film Sur le bout des doigts (02).Il y a longtemps que je t'aime(08) is his filmmaking debut.

Cadillac People's Choice Award