Something in the Air (2013) - Rotten Tomatoes

Something in the Air (2013)



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 graduating high school student in Paris deeply involved in the counterculture of the time. While Gilles begins to realize that his interests lie more in the revolutions in music and art, he finds himself pulled into ever more dangerous political protests by the people around him, especially his radicalized girlfriend (Lola Créton of GOODBYE FIRST LOVE). Illuminating and elegiac, Assayas' story celebrates that thrilling, evanescent moment in history when young people could feel revolution just within their grasp.

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Lola Creton
as Christine
Hugo Conzelmann
as Jean-Pierre
Martin Loizillon
as Rackam le Rouge
Laurent Ramacciotti
as Security Guard/Coach
Alain Gluckstein
as French Teacher
Jean-François Ragot
as Philosophy Teacher
Lionel Dray
as Activist Filmmaker
Guillaume Saurrel
as Activist Filmmaker
Jeanne Candel
as Porc-Épic Collective
Adrien Lamande
as Porc-Épic Collective
Félix de Givry
as High School Student Activist
Jean Garreau
as High School Student Activist
Louis Dunbar
as Supervisor
Yannick Abiven
as Security Guard
Jonathan Danny
as Security Guard
Colin Deleau
as Security Guard
Noel Nahon
as Union Activist in Ardèche
Maxime Julia
as Gérard's Brother
Calypso Valois
as Community
Roman Kolinka
as Community
Blanche Cluzet
as Community
Frederico Manfredi
as Spectator 1
Sylvain Jacques
as Jean-Serge
Denis Perus
as Art Teacher
Elizabeth Mazev
as ORTF Employee
Louis Donval
as Member of Board of Screenwriters
Patrick Bordes
as Member of Board of Screenwriters
Sylvain Savard
as Jean Richard's Fan
Luc Bricault
as Assistant on Moped
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News & Interviews for Something in the Air

Critic Reviews for Something in the Air

All Critics (67) | 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

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

Audience Reviews for Something in the Air

A refreshing and well-paced semi-autobiographical drama that focuses 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
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.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer


One regret: wish I'd seen this over the summer as opposed to now. All right. Well-- First thing about "Something in the Air" you need to shake is, it isn't really about anything. Now, that's a pretty huge threshold to clear; I get why some would be apprehensive about digging it, and I was too, for LONG stretches. It's basically a mosaic of struggling to pair art with commerce in, not just a changing world, but in changing, well, people. As in growing up, and being forced to conform. Sounds so hackneyed, I know. But like "Blue Is the Warmest Color" -- where that great movie so flawlessly captured the spirit and nature of being in love -- writer-director Olivier Assayas' drama, looping sporadically around a rowdy team of youths in the aftermath of France's nationwide worker protests of May 1968, bottles gloriously a sentiment of unrest and confusion, and does it all with romantic gusto to boot. One time, in singing the praises of Terrence Malick's way-underrated "To the Wonder", a friend of mine said to think about the rest of your life when you're thinking about that film. I'd say the same applies here. It's no coincidence Assayas begins with the visual stimulation of political revolution and sex, and successively details the voyeuristic fallout of that initial passion and excitement. "Something in the Air" is honestly a work of such bittersweet breadth as I've ever seen before, if ever before at all, and in Assayas' rich filmography of outbreak and heartbreak, it's the closest, most sweeping example he's yet provided of bringing an historical canvas to devastating life. (76/100)

Nick Ondras
Nick Ondras

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