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Something in the Air (2013)

Something in the Air


Average Rating: 7.1/10
Reviews Counted: 65
Fresh: 53
Rotten: 12

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

Average Rating: 7.7/10
Reviews Counted: 25
Fresh: 22
Rotten: 3

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


Average Rating: 3.1/5
User Ratings: 989


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

Directed By:
Written By:
Olivier Assayas
In Theaters:
Sep 23, 2013
Box Office:
IFC Films - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Something in the Air

All Critics (65) | Top Critics (25) | Fresh (53) | Rotten (12)

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

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

Full Review… | May 16, 2013
Arizona Republic
Top 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.

Full Review… | May 10, 2013
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

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

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

Full Review… | September 16, 2013
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.

Full Review… | July 22, 2013
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

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

Full Review… | June 13, 2013
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.

Full Review… | June 6, 2013

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.

Full Review… | May 27, 2013
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.

Full Review… | May 24, 2013

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.

Full Review… | May 24, 2013

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.

Full Review… | May 24, 2013

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

Full Review… | May 24, 2013
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.

Full Review… | May 24, 2013
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.

Full Review… | May 23, 2013
Financial Times

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

Full Review… | May 23, 2013
Daily Telegraph

Works with a light touch, but leaves a surprisingly lasting mark.

Full Review… | May 23, 2013
Philadelphia City Paper

This might just be Assayas' masterpiece.

Full Review… | May 23, 2013
Little White Lies

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

Full Review… | May 23, 2013

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.

Full Review… | May 23, 2013
Shadows on the Wall

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


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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