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Something in the Air

Something in the Air (2013)

tomatometer

81

Average Rating: 7/10
Reviews Counted: 64
Fresh: 52 | Rotten: 12

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

87

Average Rating: 7.5/10
Critic Reviews: 23
Fresh: 20 | Rotten: 3

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

audience

45

liked it
Average Rating: 3.1/5
User Ratings: 951

My Rating

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

Unrated,

Drama

Olivier Assayas

Sep 23, 2013

$71.9k

IFC Films - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (64) | Top Critics (23) | Fresh (52) | Rotten (12)

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

May 24, 2013 Full Review Source: Globe and Mail
Globe and Mail
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Assayas captures a season in the lives of a group that envisioned themselves as bearers of truth ...

May 23, 2013 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
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Free of nostalgia and not overly critical in hindsight, it captures the immediacy of youth in hugely endearing fashion.

May 21, 2013 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Every kid believes the world around him is changing in ways it hasn't before; for these kids, it really was. Or had.

May 16, 2013 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic
Arizona Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The pretty actors and counterculture nostalgia kept reminding me of Bernardo Bertolucci's The Dreamers. This is a much better film, infused with Assayas's characteristic love for the freshness of nature and the eagerness of youth.

May 10, 2013 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Worth seeing for what it says of the turbulent state of France in the early 1970s, when Mr. Assayas was a high-school student in Paris ...

May 9, 2013 Full Review Source: Wall Street Journal
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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.

March 3, 2014 Full Review Source: Orange County Register
Orange County Register

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

November 14, 2013 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Assayas's splendid autobiographical feature is about a young man who refuses to turn his back on the radicalism of the '60s

September 16, 2013 Full Review Source: Arts Fuse
Arts Fuse

Accumulates a heady, almost trippy power, like the often lengthy psychedelic recordings by the Soft Machine and Kevin Ayers heard on the soundtrack.

July 22, 2013 Full Review Source: Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

So brilliantly directed, you'll feel like you are really there.

June 13, 2013 Full Review Source: Birmingham Mail
Birmingham Mail

Revolution is less an action with direct purpose than a way of life in Olivier Assayas' heady, conflicted ode to the anarchic spirit of May 1968.

June 6, 2013 Full Review Source: PopMatters
PopMatters

Something in the Air is not a film for all tastes, but it brings back a crucial part of the last century, touches on experiences we've all had at some time and is performed with delicacy, sincerity and conviction by a splendid young cast.

May 27, 2013 Full Review Source: Observer [UK]
Observer [UK]

Assayas films it with a kinetic camera that follows his young protagonists through halls and stairways as they look for themselves. It's an assured film about rocky beginnings.

May 24, 2013 Full Review Source: Canada.com
Canada.com

This sharply well-made French drama tackles an offbeat chapter in history with real skill, although the densely populated screenplay and fragmented approach to storytelling makes it difficult to engage with.

May 24, 2013 Full Review Source: Contactmusic.com
Contactmusic.com

What ultimately makes this film stand out is the way it captures the painful dawning experienced by all human beings that neither youth - nor you - are eternal.

May 24, 2013 Full Review Source: Film4

It treats the characters with respect and a tender regard for an idealism that maturity seems unlikely to sustain.

May 24, 2013 Full Review Source: Daily Express
Daily Express

A coming-of-age drama which boasts delicious camerawork, a perfect soundtrack and fascinating insights into the importance of cinema. It's desultory to a fault.

May 24, 2013 Full Review Source: This is London
This is London

The hectic theories that have spiritual and erotic dominion over these young people and compel an elaborate network of secret meetings feel astonishingly inert.

May 23, 2013 Full Review Source: Financial Times
Financial Times

The tumbling, seemingly aimless narrative ... gives it the unmistakable feel of what the French call a film à clef.

May 23, 2013 Full Review Source: Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

This might just be Assayas' masterpiece.

May 23, 2013 Full Review Source: Little White Lies
Little White Lies

The ideas get lost in the nostalgic, elegaic glow, but that glow is nurtured expertly.

May 23, 2013 Full Review Source: Guardian [UK]
Guardian [UK]

It's essentially a series of black-out scenes tracing the lives of young activists who grow and change before our eyes. And while filmmaker Assayas and his fine cast convey that beautifully, they never properly engage us.

May 23, 2013 Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall
Shadows on the Wall

A nostalgic and thought-provoking coming-of-age drama with a terrific soundtrack to boot, though some may find the relative lack of plot frustrating.

May 23, 2013 Full Review Source: ViewLondon
ViewLondon

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.
November 16, 2012
blacksheepboy

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.
May 20, 2013
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Foreign Titles

  • Die wilde Zeit (DE)
  • Something in the Air (Apres mai) (UK)
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