Things To Come (2016)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.

Original title:  L’Avenir

  France/Germany, 2016.  , , , , , , , , , , , .  Screenplay by Mia Hansen-Love.  Cinematography by .  Produced by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by Berlin Film Festival 2016.   Toronto International Film Festival 2016.  

The assumption is that the life of a philosophy professor is a dull one, a lot of reading and hypothetical arguments with students; the instructor at the heart of Mia Hansen-Love’s intelligent and affecting drama, played with delicate intelligence by a riveting , has experiences that are anything but isolating or dull.  First, there’s student unrest at her campus being performed by young students disingenuously thinking themselves inheritors of the activists of May ’68, the fact that the academic publishing world doesn’t feel her past work sexy enough to keep in print, her emotionally unstable mother () is falling apart, and to top it all off, her husband () tells her that he has found happiness with another woman and is leaving her.  The consistency in her life, oddly enough, is a former student/protege (, grandson of Jean-Louis Trintignant) with whom she reconnects before he moves to a farm in the mountains and begins a commune with his friends; during the times of upheaval she is about to go through, this place will be a helpful escape for her and an opportunity to reset her energy.  Hansen-Love has put a very fresh spin on the Self-Re-Evaluation tale that is so popular with indie and art-house films, creating a series of encounters that are always charismatic and interesting while also never letting them climax in some kind of contrived moment of clarity or life-changing decision.  Instead, she expertly assembles a series of opportunities for Huppert to learn to cope, and watching her do so is more than satisfying.

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