Un beau soleil intérieur [Let the Sun Shine In] (2017)

Un beau soleil intérieur
Director: Claire Denis
Writer: Christine Angot, Claire Denis
Based on: Roland Barthes‘s A Lover’s Discourse: Fragments
Cast: Juliette Binoche, Xavier Beauvois, Philippe Katerine, Josiane Balasko, Sandrine Dumas, Nicolas Duvauchelle, Alex DescasLaurent GrévillBruno PodalydèsPaul Blain, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Gérard Depardieu
Part of: Viennale
Seen on: 27.10.2017

Isabelle (Juliette Binoche) is a rather successful artist, but she’s less successful when it comes to love. She has an affair with the married Vincent (Xavier Beauvois), but that isn’t enough for her. So she goes on various dates and meets quite a few men. But none of it lasts and Isabelle keeps on searching.

I found Un beau soleil intérieur pretty disappointing. There wasn’t a single character I liked in the film – and yes, that includes Isabelle. That made the film rather trying to sit through.

The story has potential. It’s definitely nice to see a 50-something woman who is still trying to figure things out, who gets to have a sex life and a sex drive and whose promiscuity is never portrayed as anything bad or morally questionable. And Binoche is great in the role, as she usually is.

But the film didn’t work at all for me. My biggest problem wasn’t just that all the guys Isabelle dates are such assholes, I wondered the entire time why she would want to date them in the first place. The much bigger issue was that I just didn’t like Isabelle – I found her intensely unlikeable. And to watch an entire film about characters you don’t like at all is tough.

And that the film doesn’t even pass the Bechdel-Wallace-Test is particularly disappointing, considering that it’s by a female director and writer.

Maybe I would feel differently about the film if I knew the text it is based on. But I don’t and either way, the movie, in my opinion, should work on its own. And it doesn’t really. At least not for me. While there were a couple of moments that did make me laugh, mostly my reaction to it was a big shrug.

Summarizing: Eh.

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