Of Things And Things (Movie Review: Things To Come)

310026-things-to-come-0-230-0-345-cropIt was one of those nights – nothing is sticking to me. I started and stopped three films already, and nothing is sticking to me. Until I told myself – just pick one and let it play, commit to it, and chose ‘Things To Come’ (L’avenir), directed by Mia Hanson-Love, and starring Isabelle Huppert. (And yes, it was a film I started and stopped a couple of nights ago) It’s a French film, and the one thing I know about French film is how it sometimes challenges me, or baffles me, or entertain me, but more often than not, I am never bored by it. This film is no exception – the story of Nathalie (Huppert) a philosophy professor who goes through some kind of middle-age crisis. Her husband has suddenly left her, her young adult children are starting lives of her own, and her health-problematic mother passes, leaving her with a freedom she never asked for. I can certainly relate to that scenario.  What to do, indeed, when you wake up and realize all you have is a ten year old cat named Pandora. Hansen-Love also wrote the screenplay, is wise enough to not fall into every trap she sets up, and we get a bittersweet and honest story, with a richly textured performance by Huppert – who is all warm, cynical, funny, acerbic all in scene after scene. As Fleetwood Mac sings ‘Unchained Melody’ at the end, you feel like you know Nathalie inside and out and have been in the journey with her, and want to spend more time with her.  Sure, there are things that made me scratch my head – the extended Philosophy talk didn’t really help the narrative, and it could use a ten minute cut – but this is a great film for introspection, and I bet we will all learn a little but about ourselves after seeing this film.

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