By Daniel Barnes
*Opens Friday, May 4, at the Landmark Clay in San Francisco and the Landmark Shattuck in Berkeley.
Claire Denis makes her first feature film since 2013’s Bastards with this beguiling romantic dramedy about a middle-aged artist who longs to find true love, yet careens from one doomed and dysfunctional relationship to the next. Juliette Binoche plays the artist Isabelle, a successful but dissatisfied woman who often gets tangled in her own complex desires. Denis employs her elliptical editing style to great effect here, as the film will suddenly cut from a blooming love to its withered end, leaving the viewer unsettled yet strangely entranced. Like Isabelle with her lovers, Let the Sunshine In seems to beckon us into its world with one hand and push us away with the other. Binoche captures all of Isabelle’s contradictions without toning down her trademark radiance, and her attention to detail makes her the perfect actress for a director so obsessed with gestures (Isabelle’s tense hand on a car door handle as she fights her own instincts is a particularly memorable moment).