Something in the Air (2013)

Something in the Air (2013)

Something in the Air



Critic Consensus: Insightful, solidly acted, and smartly filmed, Something in the Air skillfully captures the idealism of youth without falling back on cheap nostalgia.

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Movie Info

On behalf of Sundance Selects, you and a guest are invited to a screening of SOMETHING IN THE AIR, the newest film by French filmmaker Olivier Assayas. Following his critical triumphs, SUMMER HOURS and CARLOS, Assayas' semi-autobiographical new feature is a vibrant, incisively crafted story of a young man's artistic awakening in the politically turbulent French student movement of the early '70s. In a nod to his earlier film COLD WATER, Assayas' surrogate Gilles (newcomer Clement Metayer) is a … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Olivier Assayas
In Theaters:
On DVD: Sep 23, 2013
Box Office: $71.9k
IFC Films - Official Site


as Christine

as Jean-Pierre

as Rackam le Rouge

as Security Guard/Coach

as French Teacher

as Philosophy Teacher

as Activist Filmmaker

as Activist Filmmaker

as Porc-Épic Collective

as Porc-Épic Collective

as High School Student ...

as High School Student ...

as Supervisor

as Security Guard

as Security Guard

as Security Guard

as Union Activist in Ar...

as Gérard's Brother

as Community

as Community

as Community

as Spectator 1

as Jean-Serge

as Art Teacher

as ORTF Employee

as Member of Board of S...

as Member of Board of S...

as Jean Richard's Fan

as Assistant on Moped
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Something in the Air

All Critics (66) | Top Critics (25)

Something in the Air is a splendid title for a one-of-a-kind film -- a political mood movie that's more revelatory and exciting than almost any political melodrama.

Full Review… | March 3, 2014
Orange County Register
Top Critic

A wispy picture, likeable certainly but lacking in crispness and clarity.

Full Review… | May 24, 2013
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

Assayas captures a season in the lives of a group that envisioned themselves as bearers of truth ...

Full Review… | May 23, 2013
Toronto Star
Top Critic

Free of nostalgia and not overly critical in hindsight, it captures the immediacy of youth in hugely endearing fashion.

Full Review… | May 21, 2013
Time Out
Top Critic

A film about fading out, about how youthful passions dissolve over time.

Full Review… | May 12, 2015
The Improper Bostonian

While I recognise the truthful and splendid depiction, like the characters whose lives are depicted, I found the journey frustrating and difficult

Full Review… | November 14, 2013
Urban Cinefile

Audience Reviews for Something in the Air

A refreshing and well-paced semi-autobiographical drama focusing on the uncertainties of a young man divided between his ideologies and artistic desires - but the very weak performances from almost everyone make it emotionally distant and a tad restrained for its own good.

Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer


Even while still in high school, Gilles(Clement Metayer) is very much involved in the Revolution in 1971, carvng an Anarchist A symbol in his desk. Outside of school, he attends meetings before running from police in demonstrations. Otherwise, he and his friends tend to be in a running battle with security. At least, until one of the guards is seriously injured and Jean-Pierre(Hugo Conzelmann) is identified. So, Gilles sees this as the perfect opportunity to go to Italy to practice his art, what with his girlfriend Laure(Carole Combes) already having traveled to London.

"Something in the Air" is a semi-autobiographical coming of age story that is also quite evocative in its time and place. Unlike a lot of other depictions of radical politics of this era(in this case, refreshingly show that they did continue after May 1968), the movie avoids cliche by showing the evolution of political and personal thought over the period of about three years.("The Land that Time Forgot" reference at the end sets a time frame for events in the film.) Also, Olivier Assayas thankfully avoids the navel gazing of some of his other films, while producing a stunning sequence centered around bonfires.

Walter M.

Super Reviewer


Gilles (Metayer) is a young wannabe-anarchist in his final year of high school, engaging in riots, graffiti-ing, and various other disruptive modes of communicating his political philosophy. One night, he and his friends attack their school with petrol bombs, resulting in an injury to a security guard who has a bag of cement dropped on him from a height by Gilles. When one of the group's ID cards is found at the scene, they flee France for Italy, beginning a summer of sex, drugs and psychedelia.

There are some films I like to give a few days to sink in before writing a review. Such films usually receive positive reviews from me, if for no other reason than the fact they occupied my thoughts in a positive manner. Then there are those films which are so bad, I rush to my keyboard to exact a petty form of revenge, chasing the film-maker off the lawn of my subconscious before he can get his creative ball back. I know, of course, he'll simply buy a new ball, one which will find its way over my wall at some point in the future, but it gives me a small pleasure to deflate this one, regardless. 'Something in the Air' is one such film. Allow me to puncture Assayas' ball.

The film is thought to be somewhat autobiographical, and, if this is indeed the case, Assayas teen years are nothing to boast about. I struggle to remember a lead character I wished to smack bout the face so much as the dopey-eyed Gilles, a spoiled, self-righteous brat who inexplicably seems irresistible to pretty French girls. Along with his friends, they're a despicable bunch of entitled clowns who speak about helping the "working classes" as if referencing a group of disease-sufferers. The idea that some people work for a living seems repugnant to these middle-class snobs. They're like a seventies, European version of the elitist teens of 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower', but with more body hair, and, no doubt, worse body odor. Watching these juvenile Citizen Smiths sit around discussing Buddhism, Communism, Feminism, and many other "isms", in their uninformed way, is one hell of an irritating way to spend two hours.
There's nothing in the air of Assayas' shallow film. I've seen more profound Tommy Hilfiger commercials.
The Movie Waffler

Super Reviewer

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