I’ve Loved You So Long takes someone guilty of an inhuman act and gets us to recognize their universal humanity. Juliette (Kristin Scott Thomas) has recently been released from prison after 15 years (I’ll let the movie reveal her crime in its own, judicious time). Though they haven’t communicated in most of that time, she moves in with her younger sister (Elsa Zylberstein), her sister’s husband and their two adopted children. With the nuanced eye of a novelist – which writer-director Philippe Claudel is, making his directorial debut here – the movie traces her evolution from traumatized animal to fully engaged human being. Scott Thomas carries the film with an amazing, nearly non-verbal performance. At the start of the picture she’s a hollow presence – her sunken eyes are devoid of emotion – and it’s heartbreaking to watch her stew in her own shame and guilt. Even after her heinous crime is revealed, Scott Thomas keeps us riveted, rooting for any hint of redemption. Claudel offers that a bit too easily with a last-act revelation concerning Juliette’s crime. It doesn’t exactly exonerate her, but it does leave the audience off the hook in a way that’s more common for a soothing Hollywood picture than this sort of challenging French import.