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STEVE INSKEEP, Host:

Angelina Jolie is already being mentioned for an Oscar nomination for her role in "Changeling." And another movie opening this weekend is also picking up talk about best actress honors. It's a French film starring Kristin Scott Thomas. Los Angeles Times and Morning Edition film critic, Kenneth Turan has a review.

KENNETH TURAN, Host:

The new French film, "I've Loved You So Long," is the kind of picture American movie makers don't make anymore. It's a high-quality adult melodrama, conventional in technique but not story. It develops slowly because it's all about character - about, if you really want to get down to it, the reclamation of a soul. When you're doing a film like this, you want the best acting you can get, and Kristin Scott Thomas delivers gaunt, plain and colorless. Juliette is a truly damaged person, a ghost in human form who is in permanent despair. Her sister Lea, played by Elsa Zylberstein, is her complete opposite, the person willing to do whatever it takes to make things go smoothly.

The two sisters have not seen each other in 15 years because Juliette has been in prison for an unspeakable crime. Now Lea desperately wants to re-establish contact. As for what Juliette wants, that's more difficult to know. Because no one else will have her, Juliette has come to live with her sister. But it's not at all certain how much she really wants to rejoin a society that is quick to hold her in contempt. When she goes to a dinner with her sister's friends, they grill her unmercifully about her past.

(Soundbite of Ms. Thomas talking in French)

(SOUNDBITE OF PEOPLE SARCASTICALLY CHEERING JULIETTE'S NAME)

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

TURAN: The bilingual Thomas is best known to domestic audiences for her Oscar-nominated performance in "The English Patient." Her roles have always given off a kind of imperturbable confidence, but as directed by Philippe Claudel, her Juliette is nothing like that - nothing like that at all. Juliette has a chip on her shoulder about how the world reacts to her. She's in no hurry to get close to anyone. Not even the sister who is almost frantic for that intimacy. With strong performances and sensitive direction, "I've Loved You So Long" makes us grateful to have an emotional story we can sink our teeth into and enjoy.

INSKEEP: Kenneth Turan reviews movies from Morning Edition and the Los Angeles Times. And we have more critics and more reviews of the week's new movies at npr.org.

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