A terrific British actor goes French

She’s best-known for her leading role in The English Patient. But Kristin Scott Thomas has dual citizenship in France, and a second career as a French actor. The moody, moving, and resolutely adult drama I’ve Loved You So Long (out on DVD next week) is her finest French-language film to date.

Scott Thomas plays Juliette — an ex-doctor who has served 15 years in prison and remains haunted by the crime that sent her there. Having regained her freedom, she moves in with her younger sister’s family and attempts to rejoin society. Philippe Claudel — a novelist turned first-time writer-director — stays out of the actor’s way and lets her excellent, understated performance speak for itself. Yes, there’s an easy twist at the very end, but the overall effect is so subtle, and so moving, we’re inclined to overlook it.

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A terrific British actor goes French