Leighton Trent’s review:
It is with very little trepidation I say: this woman was robbed of an Oscar nomination! This performance is easily more deeply felt that Angelina Jolie's screaming mother from Changeling. Though the character is distant and hardly revelatory, we see her pain, little instances, close-ups that let us know the troubles that plague her. Jolie's performance is hardly that nuanced. For a first-time filmmaker,
I was extremely impressed with the calm hand Claudel has. That he is a novelist turned screenwriter is no small feat, but like a veteran director, he lets the brushstrokes come to him. So much of the film could've been forced, the character development, the symbolism, the acting, but everything is perfectly proportioned. Kudos to Claudel for something so wonderfully polished, but beautifully, subtlety pulsating. (That we come in the middle of the final argument between Juliette and her sister is a stroke of genius, we don't need to know how or why it got started - it is that it needs to be discussed, that is is.)
How about Miss Thomas...! Even though there are similarities to her story and that of Anne Hathaway's character from Rachel Getting Married, it is the balls-out attitude of that character that turns you off sometimes. With Juliette, you are constantly intrigued, not only what she did, but will these relationships she's trying to build in life after prison work? (the scene where she visits her mother in the home, you can feel the disgust that emenates from Juliette). Zylberstein, who plays her sister, pairs for a great tandem of female leads. Both are heartfelt, honest performances that clearly show the reality of a sister relationship that has been broken for a great while, but is on the mend.