“L’avenir”—Call It “The Future.” Or “Things to Come”

Nathalie Chazeaux (Isabelle Huppert) is a philosophy professor married to another philosophy professor (Andre Marcon), and this is yet another film about a husband who blandly leaves his wife for another woman.  Nathalie takes it . . . philosophically, which does not mean she never weeps.  She does, but she also moves on and encounters life’s common problems, challenges, and comforts.  This is what happens in the Mia Hansen-Love picture, Things to Come (L’avenir, 2016), a French opus even more imaginative and subtle than Hansen-Love’s Goodbye, First Love.

It is useful to mention Peter Rainer’s comment that “Huppert never loses sight of the fact that Nathalie’s wounded heart often overrules her steel-trap mind.”  It is also true, however, that Nathalie is not much of a creature of desire, or so it seems, which may be moving her away from the “will” that the philosopher Schopenhauer (referenced in the film) said is the cause of our suffering.  How much suffering does the woman go through?  On the other hand, critic Ella Taylor has a point when she writes that “[Nathalie’s] moving on, but to what?”

Let me indicate one more thing:  Hansen-Love does a meaningful job of capturing Natalie’s state of mind when she is alone and having to endure a relative’s sudden death.  It’s a strong scene.  The solitude makes all the difference.

(In French with English subtitles)

 

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