This has been on a mental list of films to see for as long as I remember but last week a friend recommended it to me and I decided to finally get round to it.
Oh was it worth it. The film is visually striking, challenging even, despite the forthright inclusion of the colour blue in at least every scene the colour scheme does not become overbearing, on the contrary it becomes a comforting permanence, a reflection of the ever-present love the film expresses. The editing is very much integral to the storytelling process as in insight into our protagonist’s mind and the cinematography shines in it’s simple beauty and elegance.
The film has many stylistic quirks apart from the colour scheme, the use of music is particularly effective. Melodies haunt the protagonist in such a way that it seems the entire soundtrack is in fact in her head, a product of her vision of the world rather than an added effect. Motifs are used to express complex emotional situations in graceful shorthand. Light through a chandelier becomes cruelly inverted as a symbol of grief and musical notes come to life through vision.
Juliette Binoche gives a virtuoso performance as Julie, the recently bereaved wife and mother, her character, although often surprising – perhaps incomprehensible in motives – remains steadfastly believable. This character becomes the vehicle for the film’s message. The plot dissolves into a meta-narrative on the importance of love and kindness. Despite Julie’s resolution to form no emotional ties she cannot help herself, her innate love and kindness draws people together, and to her. Throughout the film we see her become a poignant reminder that regardless of all trials love always persists, even if not in the expected form.