Actress Zabou Breitman, whose directorial debut Try to Remember (Se souvenir des belles choses) screened at the 2002 City of Lights, City of Angels French film festival, opens this year's festival tonight with the international premiere of her third feature, Someone I Loved (Je l'aimais), an immensely satisfying romantic melodrama based on the 2002 novel by bestselling author Anna Gavalda. Daniel Auteil is excellent as the middle-aged businessman telling his distraught daughter-in-law (whose husband has just left her for another woman) the story of his own extramarital affair from two decades before with a woman he claims was the love of his life. That relationship then plays out in flashback, featuring The Diving Bell and the Butterfly's Marie-Josée Croze as the beautiful Hong Kong translator Auteuil falls for during a business trip and proceeds to see clandestinely over the next several years. The affair ultimately puts the inevitable strain on the lovers themselves and on Auteuil's marriage, but Breitman eschews high-pitched histrionics in favor of a sophisticated understanding of adult relationships and the reasons why people do or don't stay in bad marriages, making for exactly the sort of smart, grown-up weepie Hollywood is forever attempting but hasn't pulled off nearly this well since The Bridges of Madison County. For those unable to score a ticket to tonight's gala, the film screens again on Saturday, April 25 at 2:15 PM at the Directors Guild.

LA Weekly