LET THE SUNSHINE IN — Review by Cate Marquis

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Juliette Binoche plays a middle-aged Parisian artist who is searching for true love, the French-language Let the Sunshine In. Director Claire Denis takes us on as emotional journey with Binoche, one that leads more to self discovery and insights than romance, as her character explores romantic possibilities. Surprisingly, this is the first film collaboration of these two giants of French cinema. The film is billed as romantic comedy but the comedy is both subtle and very French. Also very French are the conversations, which often tend towards the philosophical and world weariness, with a dash of idealistic hope. Continue reading…

Beautiful, sophisticated Isabelle (Binoche) has a successful career as an artist, and lives in Parisian apartment with a studio where she paints. She seems to have it all but after divorcing her husband Francois (Laurent Grevill), she now is hoping to find true love. With her natural beauty, Isabelle has no trouble attracting male attention but love is another matter. The frustrating thing for her is that she keeps meeting men who aren’t emotionally available or are just looking for a fling at most.

Binoche is so gorgeous, it is a little hard to believe she doesn’t have men constantly falling in love with her, but maybe it is that Isabelle keeps focusing on the wrong ones. Binoche inserts a kind of desperation to be loved in this artist’s search, even reconsidering the ex-husband she left at one point. But she is looking for something authentic, something real and lasting. In her romantic quest, she encounters several men who, in an initial romantic glow, seem to offer that possibility but roadblocks appear quickly.

Binoche is very touching in the role, showing us all her character’s emotional vulnerabilities, her tendency to jump in too quickly at the illusion of love, and her dignity in picking herself up to try again. Binoche’s tender, honest exploration of Isabelle’s emotional roller coaster will resonant deeply for many women.

The cast also includes Nicholas Duvauchelle, Paul Blain, Xavier Beauvois and the legendary Gerard Depardieu, as a psychic Binoche’s character consults in an effort to resolve her love life.

LET THE SUNSHINE IN is a very French film, which will please Francophiles but not all American audience members. Not surprisingly, the ending of LET THE SUNSHINE IN is typically French, leaving Binoche’s artist still on her quest for love but perhaps more comfortable with her journey towards the true love she deserves.

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Cate Marquis

Cate Marquis is a film critic and historian based in the St. Louis, Missouri area. Marquis reviews film for the St. Louis Jewish Light weekly newspaper and Playback: stl website, as well as other publications. The daughter of artist Paul Marquis, she was introduced to classic and silent films by her father, as well as art and theater. Besides reviewing films, she lectures on film history, particularly the silent film era, has served on the board of the Meramec Classic Film Festival and is a long-time collaborator with the St. Louis International Film Festival, serving on various juries.