What begins as a slow and awkward study of a fragile and somewhat irritating woman transforms into an engaging and gentle satire of middle class and middle-aged angst. #MIFF2017
Isabelle (Juliette Binoche) is perennially looking for a love to transform her life. The men she finds, like the married banker (Xavier Beauvois) and the married actor (Nicolas Duvauchelle), flatter her but are essentially unavailable, something she willfully ignores or perhaps rationalises away.
When the romantic illusion falters, she rails at them and castigates herself for being so misguided. Crying every night, she seems unable to break the cycle, missing all the signs that propel her straight into the next heartbreak. Her world is full of people caught up in their own monologues, talking, talking, talking and not listening. That they are dissatisfied with their lives is apparent, trying to find meaning in the banal and ascribing heroic ideals to their own hopelessness. Isabelle is aware of it but cannot see it in herself.
It took me a while to recognise that Let the Sunshine In is a satire. The characters play it straight, Binoche in particular making the fragility and guilelessness of her character completely believable. She would be a high maintenance friend, the kind you want to shake and tell to make better choices. The ability to be frustrated that our lives are not what we hoped but to be blind to the repeated choices that keep us there is all too common. Understandable but frustrating nonetheless.
The final scene is golden and heartwarming in its hopelessness.
Have you seen this film? Let me know what you thought in the comments below.