Movies about people looking for true love tend to be treated with a lighter attitude. Mostly because audiences respond more efficiently to stories that they can relate to that don’t portray their problems as a wet towel. To my recollection, Let the Sunshine In is the first film – in some time, at least – to put real weight behind this personal mission of romance. Although the film provides relatable results for some viewers, the overall repetition will be too much of a bludgeoning force for select movie goers.
Let the Sunshine In has been directed/co-written by Claire Denis, a French filmmaker who has received acclaim for her work, and the film is headlined by a stunning and occasionally devastating performance by Juliette Binoche. Judging by the films I’ve seen of hers, I haven’t exactly understood Denis’ popularity, and my feelings are no different here. But, I can appreciate the filmmaker playing in a different key with her latest effort. There’s a legitimate bond between Denis and Binoche that feels heartfelt and thoughtful as they tell this story about feeling frustrated and helpless in an incomprehensible stressful world of love and intimacy. Unfortunately, through detrimental and abrupt editing, Let the Sunshine In awkwardly shifts from scene-to-scene and it doesn’t take a long enough chance to break its tension – affecting the audience’s chance to give themselves over to the movie. It also doesn’t help that each man Binoche’s Isabelle has a relationship with are too similar to each other. The emotions are believable with each fling, but the characterizations (apart from Isabelle) lack depth and variety.
I’m grateful that Let the Sunshine isn’t a copy of innocuous fare like Bridget Jones’s Diary, but some sweet optimism (which this film needed) wouldn’t have compromised this movie’s intentions.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie