It's not surprising that the performances are top-rate, only that they fail to elevate the script. Both Denueve and Ludivine Sagnier (who plays Denueve's character Madeleine in the 1960s scenes) are sparkling and glamorous, and casting Denueve's real-life daughter Chiara Mastroianni as her daughter in the film lends an authentic mère/fille intimacy. Milos Forman gives his wafer-theen role as Madeleine's husband both gravitas and a heart.
A pity, then, that this cast had not been given more to work with. Real-life political and historical references race by almost uncomfortably with no true connection to the characters. There's more shots of legs and shoes than in your average Sex and the City marathon. The film's epic two hours, ten minutes running time make you long for the film stock and a pair of scissors.
Beloved was the closing film of The Cannes Film Festival 2011. Yep, I wanted to exit the theater quickly after I'd seen it, too.