Things to Come (L'avenir) (2016)
Critic Consensus: A union to cherish between a writer-director and star working at peak power, Things to Come offers quietly profound observations on life, love, and the irrevocable passage of time.
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Critic Reviews for Things to Come (L'avenir)
Visually arresting, but never precious, it's filled with ideas that have relevance to actual life, ideas that are based on a moral conviction that a question well-posed is far more valuable than an easy answer.
Following her triumph in Elle, French screen legend Isabelle Huppert scores another bullseye with this delicate tale of philosophy professor starting over
This French drama gives Huppert a brilliant, Rousseau-quoting character to play around with, and she saunters through the role, finding fresh moments in every scene.
It has slow patches, but it has a cumulative effect, thanks equally to Hansen-Love and Huppert. We come away feeling enriched and expanded, without exactly knowing how or why.
Audience Reviews for Things to Come (L'avenir)
Isabelle Huppert, an icon of French cinema, has to engage all of her artistic power to give meaning and complexity to a screenplay that is not too far from a self-help paperback made with cut-out figures. The film analyses superficially how to handle divorce, career threats and family issues by being cool, calm and collected in the presence of the others involved. You can let go in private, and howl. It is an ironic reflection of the problems faced by Huppert's character, who writes complex academic books which her publisher wants to dumb down into glossy, primary-coloured, mass-market items; meanwhile, her husband of three decades announces flatly one day that he is moving in with someone else. Other family members, young and old, also have textbook problems. The shallowness is a fault of construction and direction in the film, since there is nothing wrong with the acting talent. Huppert, with her characteristically surgical style, attacks each situation forcefully in turn. When it is time for her character to let go, you see the emotional abandonment and devastation. But the film is not committed to her themes and wants to do other things. Huppert is frequently cast in French promotional cinema and this is no exception - there are travelogues in Paris, Brittany and the Pyrenees, elegant clothing styles, charming cottages, regional produce, and quotations from French philosophy, which is itself a national product. The resolutions to the various personal problems are conventional; but then, perhaps it is advertising traditional family values, too. By all means be impressed by what you see here, as that is the intention; and it is worth it just to watch Huppert wrangle an inferior cinematic product into some consequence.
There is a certain intuitive feel to Mia Hansen-Løve's films, as though she prefers to always follow her heart in order to find a direction for her characters and narrative - which, in turn, ends up being a bit irregular and repetitive, even if lifted by Huppert's excellent performance.
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