Let the Sunshine in (15) | Close-Up Film Review

Dir: Claire Denis, France/Belgium 2017, 96 mins.

Cast: Juliette Binoche, Xavier Beauvois, Gerard Depardieu

Review by Carlie Newman

Let the Sunshine in  is a French film par excellence. Juliette Binoche stars as Isabelle, a middle-aged French divorcee who lives with her 10-year-old daughter- although we don’t meet the daughter who is staying with her father over the duration of the film – in Paris.

Isabelle wants to find a permanent loving partner, but she has real difficulty with the men who enter her life.

First there is the selfish banker, Vincent (Xavier Beauvois) who is happy to spend time having sex with Isabelle but doesn’t want to commit. He coldly informs her that he will never leave his wife. Then we have the somewhat neurotic actor (Nicolas Duvauchelle), who doesn’t really know what he wants from life or Isabelle.

She also gets to know an artist and even has a brief fling with her ex-husband, before she finds a very handsome, sexually attractive stranger (Paul Blain) in a bar and enters a relationship. There is a somewhat strange coda to the film where Gerard Depardieu, as a kind of relationship guide, spouts long speeches which seem to disparage Isabelle when previously we have thought of her as the heroine.

Talk, talk, talk rather than sex is the chief component of this movie although there are some erotic scenes with Isabelle and one of her lovers. Some amusing dialogue is well delivered by Binoche and the other actors. Juliette Binoche is luminous here. She is really a beautiful film actress and whenever she is on screen – which is almost all the time here – our eyes are drawn to her as she emotes wonderfully.

Good background songs and stylish direction by Claire Denis make this sophisticated French romance a film not to be missed.