Review: Love is hard in exquisite 'Let the Sunshine In'

Juliette Binoche is radiant in this romantic drama about the difficulties of finding a decent romantic partner

Adam Graham
Detroit News Film Critic
Juliette Binoche stars in "Let the Sunshine In."

Juliette Binoche is unlucky in love in "Let the Sunshine In," a tender film about the humiliation and indignities we put ourselves through while looking for the One. 

Binoche is exquisite as Isabelle, a woman who just can't get her love life right. We know long before she does that she's not right for Vincent (Xavier Beauvois), a sleazeball banker who's married to another woman and treats Isabelle like gum on the bottom of his shoe. Same goes for an actor (Nicolas Duvauchelle), who's too caught up with himself to give Isabelle what she needs. 

And then along comes Mr. Right, the sunshine of that Natasha Bedingfield-like title, right? Not so fast. There's a Hollywood version of this tale, but that's not the one co-writer and director Claire Denis presents. "Let the Sunshine In" works because it's real, relatable and true to the heart. 

"Let the Sunshine In" understands the difficulties of dating and the pain of the process of putting yourself out there, again and again, for the dream of meeting someone who values us in the way that we feel we deserve to be valued. Sometimes we settle, and we compromise ourselves, because we're not sure if we're asking too much of the world or of others in our quest to find someone to share our lives. And we suffer. And it's not until we're slapped cold by reality -- in the case of "Let the Sunshine In," it's Isabelle watching her significant other treat a bartender like a subhuman -- that we realize how much we've hurt ourselves in the process. 

This all unfolds in Paris, the City of Love, where all fairy tales have a happy ending, right? Perhaps. But like life, no one said "Let the Sunshine In" is a fairy tale. 

'Let the Sunshine In'


Not rated: Nudity, sexuality 

Running time: 96 minutes

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