“ Let The Sunshine In”

The French title “ Un Beau Soleil Interieur” is so much better than the English one.  And is this film French! “Let The Sun Shine In” stars  Juliette Binoche. She is an aging woman who fears losing her sex appeal, and that her love life is behind her. She somehow must like hearing , “ You charm the pants off me, but I won’t leave my wife.” for she pursues the same over and over. Being “ a back street lover” most divorcees know won’t fill the real hole, but Isabelle seems to be a slow learner.

The dating game is treated like a farce here, yet the loneliness is real. One lover must leave because he promised to bring a pizza home to his family. Some regret their lovemaking, but Juliette fools herself in saying she  just feels good. If cars are seen on screen going in circles, so is Isabelle’s love life.

She confesses to a girl friend that she never should have left her husband, Francoise. Her young daughter is staying with him now. He comes by and sleeps with her, but she criticizes his technique as not being natural. She calls his methodology  fake and chastises him for merely  repeating something he saw.  Somehow, Isabelle, the artist, knows what is real. And she tells him that “ This is not you!” Isabelle is a mess.

We see art galleries and plein air outings. We hear Etta James sing “ At last my love has come along”, but it doesn’t. Francoise tells Isabelle that their ten-year-old daughter reports that she sees her mother cry almost every night. We only see the bed hopping.

One of the best scenes has Isabelle walking up behind a man on the street and taking his hand. He is startled, but she holds on and says that this matters to her a lot. He tells her that he is taking his kids on a vacation and that he will meet her here in a month. He doesn’t rush things. Before the sun comes up, Isabelle is meeting with a psychic, played by Gerald Depardieu. He tells her that he obsesses about emotional relationships. We laugh. He tells her that the hand holder will resurface. He will want to see you again. He then shuts the door of this office. Someone more substantial is coming.  Someone authentic. His tarot reading does not say something  new is going to be something old. Is everyone feasting on the beautiful sun within, but Isabelle ?! Director Claire Denis will have to presume we know a wolf when we see it.

Credits roll, and we sigh..oh, the French.