Things to Come (L’Avenir – France, 2016)

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for Cinetalk.net

Is this the year Isabelle Huppert steps into Oscar country? She could join a select club of Academy award nominees by earning a nomination for a performance in a language other than English. Huppert is seen as serious a Best actress contender for her cold and troubled performance in Paul Verhoeven’s ELLE. As she appeared in several films that made the festivals circuit in 2016, it also helps to shape the idea of Huppert as a front runner for your consideration as the Academy Award lunacy is also about being seen.

In Mia Hansen-Løve’s Things to Come (L’Avenir), Berlin 2016 Silver Bear Winner for directing, Huppert plays a philosophy teacher who’s world is about to crumble. Students are on strike, her husband is leaving her, her editor seeks success over quality, etc.

Basically, Things to Come is constructed around Isabelle Huppert. It is a clear case of : You like her or not. The pretty fair drama evolves around her character of a petite bourgeois who’s confronted to contemporary contexts of collapsing culture and mediocrity. Fortunately Huppert manage to play it lightly and she puts some credibility into the mix.

Of course very talkative (with some good lines)   with a lot of kitchen sink drama and May 68 nostalgia, Things to Come bears the symptoms that seriously plague Contemporary French Cinema. It is made of commonplaces and it stays in its comfort zone. It is honest, it is well done.  But  there is not much that we haven’t seen time and time again during the last few decades. Much ado about nothing.

 

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