Let The Sunshine In

French actress Juliette Binoche plays a lovelorn divorcee in Claire Denis’ middling film, Let the Sunshine In, which opens in Canada on June 1.¬†Isabelle, Binoche’s character, is a Parisian painter in her late 40s who’s unlucky in love. Her lovers are either married or temperamentally unsuitable.

The first two scenes are indicative of her predicament.

As the camera pans on Binoche, she is naked on on a bed from the breasts up. She and Vincent (Xavier Beauvois), a bearded man of approximately her age, are making love. She reaches climax, but he keeps on thrusting. Finally, he comes. They engage in post-coitus pillow talk, agreeing to meet on the weekend. Vincent, a banker, never shows up.

When they see each other again, she says she loves him. Vincent merely “admires” her. And he admits he will not leave his “extraordinary” wife. Once again, she is disappointed.

Binoche, whose luminous beauty shines in virtually every frame of this fairly predictable French film, is tired of being a “backstreet lover.” As she sighs, she asks herself forlornly, “Is this my life?”

What she desires, but seems unable to attain, is “real love.”

Juliette Binoche

The fault is partly hers. She gravitates toward men she should avoid at all costs.

After her unpleasant encounter with Vincent, Isabelle meets an actor, a younger man who happens to be married as well. “Wonderful,” she says after he leaves her apartment. He seems to be Mr. Right. But he has “regrets.” This relationship will not work.

Vincent, having returned from a business trip to Brazil, appears at her door with a big bouquet of white roses. She’s upset with him, but he’s persistent. “We can’t throw this away like old dishwater” he says to no avail.

In short order, Isabelle dates a succession of men, all unsatisfactory, and sleeps with her ex-husband. Frustrated by her lack of success in landing a compatible man, she consults a fortune teller (Gerard Depardieu), who dispenses banal advice. As he speaks, the end credits roll by.

Let the Sunshine In, while mildly entertaining, is repetitive. Binoche holds it altogether, but it’s a flimsy vehicle for an actress of her caliber.