Director: Claire Denis | 94 minutes | drama, comedy, romance | Actors: Juliette Binoche, Xavier Beauvois, Philippe Katerine, Josiane Balasko, Sandrine Dumas, Nicolas Duvauchelle, Alex Descas, Laurent Grévill, Bruno Podalydès, Paul Blain, Valera Bruni Tedeschi, Gérard Depardieu, Schemci Lauth, Charles Pépin, Tania de Montaigne, Bertrand Burgalat, Claire Tran, Lucie Borleteau, Walid Afkir, Julien Meunier, Suzanne Osborne
Juliette Binoche plays Isabelle in ‘A Beautiful Sun Within (2017)’, a fifty-year-old who just does not want to become happy in love. She is divorced and the mother of a – largely out of the picture – ten-year-old daughter, and there is no shortage of male attention. But true love will take a long time to come, no matter how hard Isabelle tries.
Claire Denis, known for films such as ‘Les salauds’, ‘White Material and ’35 rhums’, films the French actress close to the skin. Binoche is the radiant, sobbing and desperate center, with whom it is easy to sympathize, because man, what losers she meets in her search for Love with a big L.
“Look, you are very charming, but I am not going to leave my wife for you because she is extraordinary,” her lover tells her between nose and lips, just after barking at the bartender to clean up the bottle of booze RIGHT NOW. and gluten-free olives (!) can be ordered from him. The same man who asked her in the opening (sex) scene if she was coming soon with her previous boyfriend. We would have liked to have given him that slap in the face.
The next attempt is with an actor, a lot younger than herself, but from the first conversation we experience as a viewer it is already clear that this will not be it for Isabelle either. Also married, but in divorce, quite dependent on the bottle and he himself indicates that he sometimes becomes violent. Yet their date ends in Isabelle’s bed, but the actor later regrets it very much.
And so Isabelle’s hunt for the ideal man continues. They are lightly funny, disturbing, but taken from life, with an actress who makes the viewer forget that she is Juliette Binoche. She is a woman like many, without extreme desires or character traits, at most too insecure. She just craves someone to spend the rest of her life with and be satisfied, or no, happy with. When she desperately calls in ‘professional’ help, Denis, who wrote the screenplay with Christine Angot, has another delightful surprise in store for the viewer. ‘A Beautiful Sun Within (2017)’ is a great French film for anyone who believes that one plus one is more than two, but also for the happy singles and everyone in between.