With sparse emotion and very slowly evolving detail writer/director Philippe Claudel’s mood drama reveals long-held secrets and passions simmering under the radar. It’s a family story sparked by the return of a woman Juliette (Kristin Scott Thomas) to her small town after spending 15 years in prison for an unspeakable crime that is not clearly identified. The film opens with a close-up on her face the shell of a burnt-out soul clearly still in a prison within herself. She goes to live with her estranged younger sister Lea (Elsa Zylberstein) who takes her into the home she shares with her husband Luc (Serge Hazanavicius) his father and their two young girls. Initially there is distrust and distance. particularly from Juliette’s parents who disowned her and brought up Lea as if she had no sister. Slowly Juliette attempts to find her way back and is helped by the curiosity of two men: Faure (Frederic Pierrot) a local cop and Michel (Laurent Grevill) who are intrigued by her seemingly mysterious air. Her innate loneliness and bitterness begins to thaw as revelations about her past and family dynamic float to the surface allowing pieces of this intricate puzzle to come together.
Kristin Scott Thomas’ moving and luminous performance has a raw power that is almost indescribable. This transcends acting; it’s life lived. Allowing the camera to linger on her face no makeup in sight is something few actresses would be comfortable with. Scott Thomas seems to have traveled deep into the soul of this lost woman searching for the humanity and sign of life that is hidden from view and never threatening to surface. Although she’s English the star flawlessly plays the role entirely in French but it’s real power is not in the language but in its austere subtlety. There isn’t a false moment and when the time comes for some key revelations her emotional connection with the audience is palpable earning our sympathy unlike any piece of acting seen on screen in years. Reserve her seat now for the Academy Awards. Almost equaling Scott Thomas is Zylberstein as the younger sister reaching out now to make inroads toward a new beginning with the sibling who was taken away from her. Scenes between the two are utterly convincing for their complete lack of pretense. The physical and mental prison that has separated them quietly opens its doors in measured silences. Other actors have their moments especially Grevill who beautifully lets his own curiosity about Juliette define their emerging relationship. Hazanavicius perfectly represents the aloof attitude of many in the small town and his reluctance to let her babysit the kids is telling. Philippe Claudel is a best selling novelist taking his first turn behind the camera. Appropriately his debut film feels like it flows from the pages of one of his books shot in the melancholy rhythms of a novel rather than cinema. His choice to shoot so much in close up is a blessing letting us peer behind sad sunken eyes into the deflated spirit of this drifting human being. What gives his film such immaculate power and grace though is the deliberate sense of mystery he creates never revealing anything about Juliette’s past transgressions until he has to and keeping us on edge throughout as the story builds suspense and secrets come to light. Above all in this tale of two sisters Claudel is celebrating the strength and perseverance of women and their ability to be reborn. Indeed I've Loved You So Long is a small intimate story of forgiveness rebirth and renewal. It’s demanding but ultimately rewarding.
Top Story: Paltrow, Martin Secretly Wed?
According to a New York Daily News report, Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin have quietly exchanged vows at a Santa Barbara, Calif., hotel. The paper reports that after the 10-minute ceremony, which was devoid even of friends and family members, the newlyweds hopped on a plane to the Las Ventanas resort in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, for a two-week honeymoon. Sources said the couple may bring close friends and family down to Mexico to share in the celebration. When asked about the rumors of the Paltrow-Martin nuptials, a spokeswoman for Paltrow said only, "We can neither confirm nor deny the story."
Whitney Houston Claims Domestic Abuse
Alpharetta, Ga., police considered filing charges on Tuesday against Bobby Brown, husband of Whitney Houston, relating to domestic abuse allegations Houston made Sunday, according to the Associated Press. When officers arrived at the couple's suburban home, they found Houston with a cut upper lip and a bruised cheek, said Fulton County Police spokesman Kurtis Young. Houston alleged that Brown struck her during an argument. By the time police made it to the residence, Brown had already left to catch a flight to California. As of yet, no arrests have been made. In recent years, Brown has served brief jail sentences of seven and 26 days respectively for probation violations, one of which stemmed from a 1996 drunken driving conviction.
Ozzy Expected To Recover from ATV Accident
Following an accident riding an all-terrain vehicle at his Buckinghamshire, England, estate in which he sustained several serious injuries, 55-year-old rocker Ozzy Osbourne is reportedly faring well and is expected to make a steady recovery, AP reports. On Wednesday, doctors at Wexham Park Hospital hope to take Ozzy off his ventilator, allowing him to breathe on his own. Once Osbourne is awake and off the ventilator, doctors will be able to get a much better idea of how the rocker is feeling. According to Wexham medical director Dr. Dick Jack, "[Ozzy's] doing very well. He's comfortable and the vital signs are perfectly normal." On Tuesday, Ozzy's wife Sharon and daughter Kelly arrived from Los Angeles to be by the rock star's side during his recovery. In the accident, Ozzy sustained a fractured left collarbone, eight broken ribs, and a broken neck vertebra. On Monday, he underwent emergency surgery to restore blood flow through a major artery.
Gov. Schwarzenegger Will Not Investigate Allegations
On Tuesday, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said that he would not order his own investigation into the allegations that he sexually harassed women on various movie sets over the years, according to Reuters. In an interview on CNN Tuesday, the Hollywood icon-turned-politician said, "I've been here for 35 years in this country and I have never had any complaints filed against me nor any complaints made to me…It was rather odd, I would say, that just a few days before the election that all of a sudden there was 16 (women) that had, you know, complaints." Before the Oct. 7 gubernatorial election, Schwarzenegger said that he would allow a probe to look into the allegations, but then called the issue "old news" after the election. He changed his mind again in November when State Attorney General Bill Lockyer urged him to acknowledge the allegations. At that time, Schwarzenegger pledged to hire investigators to look into the issue. The action star/politician is known for going back and forth on important decisions; close advisors say that he didn't decide to run for governor until the last minute, and Hollywood insiders have said that the actor often takes plenty of time to decide on acting roles.
California First Lady Shriver Returns to NBC
In more Sacramento celebrity news, Reuters reports that on Tuesday, First Lady of California Maria Shriver announced she had returned to her job in the NBC newsroom two weeks ago after taking an extended unpaid leave to be with her husband, Arnold Schwarzenegger, during his successful run for governor. "I felt relieved, I felt centered, I felt at home when I went back into the newsroom," Shriver said. "I love my job, I love journalism and it's my job and I wanted to go back there. I have more stories that I wanted to tell." Amidst criticisms stating that Shriver should focus solely on her duties as First Lady, former First Lady of California and the United States Nancy Reagan offered advice to the journalist. "Nancy Reagan gave me some great advice. Shriver said, 'No matter what you do you'll get criticized so do exactly what you want to do."'
L.A. Film Critics Association Reinstates Awards
Following the lift of the Motion Picture Association of American's ban on screeners, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association has decided to reinstate their film awards, according to Reuters. The group, which consists of about 50 L.A.-area critics, awards its picks of top actors, actresses, and films in mid-December. With the MPAA's screener ban this year, the L.A. group sided with many independent film studios, calling the ban unfair to smaller studios and canceling its awards. Now, with the screener ban lifted, L.A. Film Critics Association president Jean Oppenheimer said that a date on which the awards will be announced has not yet been set, but that some screeners have already begun to show up in critics' offices.
CBS Continues To Dominate the Top 10
On the strength of hits like Survivor: Pearl Islands and CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS went on to take seven of the top 10 spots for last week's top shows. Though it enjoyed a surprisingly strong debut, Fox's The Simple Life failed to break into the list of top shows, coming in at No. 19. For the week of Dec. 1-7, the top shows were Survivor: Pearl islands, CBS, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, CBS, ER, NBC, 60 Minutes, CBS, CBS Sunday Movie: Undercover Christmas, CBS, Everybody Loves Raymond, CBS, Law & Order, NBC, NFL Monday Night Football: Tennessee at N.Y. Jets, ABC, CSI: Miami, CBS, and Cold Case, CBS.
Role Call: Holme
Top Story: Bennifer's Wedding Set
Ben Affleck and his honey Jennifer Lopez are apparently still headed towards marital bliss. Us Weekly and New York Daily News reported Wednesday the couple have named the date Sept. 14 to get hitched. The Daily News reports the exact location is a secret, but it quoted an unidentified source familiar with the plans as saying the nuptials will take place on a hillside "maybe at a winery," near Santa Barbara, Calif. The article also said to keep the plans closely under wraps, about 400 guests were invited by phone last week and were told details would be hand-delivered four days before the wedding.
Schwarzenegger "Egged" On
What's a little egg tossing between friends? Arriving at a gubernatorial campaign rally at California State University, Long Beach, Wednesday, candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger was pelted with an egg that splattered on his tan jacket, Reuters reports. The actor seemed unconcerned, taking the jacket off and continuing to shake hands with the crowd. He quipped later to reporters, "This guy owes me bacon now."
Vandals Deface Hogwarts Express
The steam train used to take Harry Potter and his friends to Hogwarts, the school of wizardry and witchcraft, in the hit Harry Potter films has been covered with graffiti by vandals, causing nearly $5,000 worth of damage, the London newspaper The Sun reports. "It's just a shame Harry is not around at the moment to turn them into frogs," one worker from the station yard told The Sun. When the train is not being used in the Potter movies, it carries tourists between the seaside resort of Scarborough and York, Reuters reports.
Welch Breaks Arm in Car Accident
Actress Raquel Welch broke her arm in a car collision, her publicist told The Associated Press Wednesday. Welch was driving alone Saturday in Century City, Calif., when the accident occurred. "She's OK, she fractured her arm in several places and is in pain," publicist Jill Bushinsky told AP. No one else was injured, Bushinsky added.
Raymond Reruns Beat Reality
Reruns of CBS' Everybody Loves Raymond beat out debuts of reality shows Temptation Island on Fox and Race to the Altar on NBC in the Neilsen ratings for the week of Aug. 25-31, the AP reports. CBS won the week, averaging 8 million viewers followed by NBC ( 7 million); ABC (6.3 million); Fox (5.2 million); the WB (2.4 million) and UPN (2.2 million). The top 10 shows were: Everybody Loves Raymond, CBS; CSI: Crime Scene Investigation CBS; CSI: Miami, CBS; NFL Football: Indianapolis vs. Denver, ABC; Law & Order, NBC; The King of Queens, CBS; Without a Trace, CBS; Big Brother 4, CBS; 60 Minutes, CBS; For Love or Money 2, NBC.
Universal Music Slashes Prices
In order to battle the growing problem of music piracy and woo consumers, Universal Music Group has decided to cut the price of their wholesale CDs, pushing for a $12.98 retail cap, AP reports. The music recording giant hopes other retailers will follow suit and help increase industrywide music sales, which has dropped a debilitating 31 percent over the last three years. "Our new pricing model will enable U.S. retailers to offer music at a much more appealing price point in comparison to other entertainment products," Jim Urie, president of Universal Music & Video Distribution told AP. "We are confident this pricing approach will drive music fans back into retail stores." The price change will be put into effect Oct. 1.
Juanes Tops Latin Grammy Awards
Colombian singer Juanes won five Latin Grammys Wednesday night including album, record and song of the year for his album Un Dia Normal (A Normal Day). Other winners included Olga Tanon for best pop vocal album by a female and David Bisbal for best new artist. The ceremony was a mix of American and Latin American pop sounds with performances by Juanes, Marc Anthony, Gloria Estefan and Thalia along with rap group Black Eyed Peas and American Idol Kelly Clarkson.
Sundance Introduces New Film Series
Robert Redford and the Sundance Channel have announced the launch of a new Sundance film series, developed as another extension of the Sundance mission to support and expose the work of independent artists. Some upcoming titles include The Other Side of the Bed (Aug. 29), In This World (opening Sept. 19), Dopamine (opening Oct. 10) and Die Mommie Die! (opening Oct. 31).
Role Call: Pinkett Smith Cruises
Jada Pinkett Smith is in negotiations to join the cast of the new thriller Collateral starring Tom Cruise. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Cruise plays a contract killer who forces a taxicab driver (Jamie Foxx) to chauffeur him around on a series of hits. Pinkett Smith would star as the love interest of Foxx's character. Val Kilmer also recently signed onto the project, playing a detective on Cruise's heels.
The new practice of showing commercials in theaters before a film starts has irked several moviegoers to the point they have filed class-action lawsuits against two movie theater chains. The Associated Press reports the lawsuits, which claim the theaters defraud people by falsely advertising when a film is to start, were filed Tuesday in Illinois' Cook County Circuit Court against Classic Cinemas and Loews Cineplex Entertainment. Both ask that theaters state films' actual start times in their ads or pay no more than $75 "for anybody who's had to sit through these things, millions of people," attorney Mark Weinberg told AP. Miriam Fisch, a Chicago high school teacher, filed one of the lawsuits and told AP when she recently went to see The Quiet American, she had to sit through four ads before the movie started. One of her attorneys, Douglas Litowitz, told AP the movie industry went for 100 years without commercials. "Our basic proposition is that if you are forced to watch commercials, you should be compensated for it," Litowitz said.
Drew Carey, the comedian from Cleveland, Ohio who got one of his first big breaks competing on Star Search in 1988, will get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame today to mark the 200th episode of the sitcom bearing his name, City News Service reports.
Canadian singer Celine Dion is making plans to sell her home in Jupiter, Fla., and build a new home in one of Florida's most exclusive golf course developments in Palm Beach. AP reports she bought a three-acre lot for $3.5 million in Jack Nicklaus' The Bear's Club because of its "exceptional privacy and security."
Baywatch star David Hasselhoff and his wife, actress Pamela Bach, were injured Thursday in Los Angeles when Hasselhoff lost control of the motorcycle they were riding and hit a curb, AP reports. The couple was taken to the UCLA Medical Center, where Hasselhoff, 50, was treated for possible lower back fractures, a broken rib and cuts and bruises, according to police. Bach, 39, was treated for a fractured ankle and broken wrist. They were both wearing helmets.
The Tribeca Film Festival, whose inaugural run last year helped boost New York City's post-9/11 economy, will return for year two, AP reports. Scheduled for May 3-11, the festival will feature 200 premieres and offer more awards than last year's event, which took place eight months after the terrorist attacks. Festival organizer Robert De Niro and actor Kevin Spacey were on hand at Thursday's news conference to announce the festival's return.
Stephen King's novella Riding the Bullet, which first appeared as an e-book three years ago, will get the big-screen treatment, Variety reports. The story revolves around a suicidal college kid trying to hitchhike across Maine to see his ailing mother. After a series of bizarre rides and misfortunes, the teen is finally picked up by a menacing stranger--a spectral figure who offers a terrible ultimatum as well as a new perspective on life. No talent has been attached as yet.
Goldie Hawn is just a writin' fool these days. According to Variety, G.P. Putnam's Sons has bought the world publishing rights to the actress' spiritual memoirs, A Lotus Grows in the Mud: Footprints of a Spiritual Life. Hawn is also shopping her feature screenplay Ashes which she wrote with Bulworth scribe Jeremy Pikser.
It's official. AP reports Warner Bros. announced Friday Irish actor Michael Gambon, who recently starred in the HBO film Path to Glory, will replace the late Richard Harris as Professor Dumbledore in the next Harry Potter installment, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
The Cartoon Network has made a deal with Lucasfilm Ltd. to air 20 animated shorts based on the Star Wars franchise. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the shorts, titled Clone Wars, will be three minutes in length and will connect the story lines between the movies Star Wars: Episode II--Attack of the Clones and Episode III. They'll begin airing in November.
Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel may make their first joint public appearance in 10 years, if they reunite for this Sunday's Grammy Awards. A spokesman for Simon told Reuters the two sang together in a private setting on Wednesday. "They got together yesterday and had a wonderful time. They got together as two great old friends and sang for the first time since 1993. They're thinking of performing at the Grammys, but they're not sure if they have enough time," the spokesman said.
Reuters reports Ms. Dynamite, Coldplay, Robbie Williams, Norah Jones and Eminem were among the winners at the Brit awards Thursday, which honor the U.K. recording industry.