THINGS TO COME
Director: Mia Hansen-Love
Screenwriter: Mia Hansen-Love
Runtime: 102 mins
Australian release date: 27 April 2017
Previewed at: Verona Cinema, Paddington, Sydney on 6 April 2017
Things To Come was the winner of the Silver Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival last year and Isabelle Huppert won a number of Film Critics’ Awards for her compelling performance as a ‘woman of a certain age’ whose world starts to crumble around her. Why?
Well the death of her mother, her husband’s infidelity and a change of heart by her long-standing publisher provide a reasonable scenario for a massive breakdown. However, Hansen-Løve forges ahead with an uplifting script showing how, when faced with adversity, the human spirit can overcome defeat by acknowledging the strength that prevails within. In this case, Huppert demonstrates how her character’s intelligence gives her the force to survive against the odds.
Nathalie Chazeaux (Isabelle Huppert) is a philosophy teacher at a Parisian college who enjoys her profession and imparting knowledge to her students, with whom she seems to have a great rapport. She lives with her husband Heinz (André Macon) in a rambling home full of books and possessions collected over a lifetime together. They appear to be content with their lot. Nathalie has to deal with an ageing mother who lives in her past where beauty and confidence reigned, but no more. Their two children are grown up and the couple comfortably fit the role of doting grandparents. Life is pretty much like many others of their bourgeois ilk. When these circumstances abruptly change, Nathalie falls back on her intellect to cope with a situation that could easily send her into a downward spiral. The camera follows Nathalie like a shadow as she comes to grip with this daunting change.
Hansen-Løve’s screenplay is mesmerising. There are moments when it looks like the script is going to succumb to a well-worn cliché, but Nathalie carries on with her life with confidence, even if a little fragile. She copes, adapting to the changes in her life, even able to laugh when she experiences the awful moment of seeing her husband in the street with a younger woman. Things To Come is an intelligent observation of a ‘normal’ life that can so easily fall apart if an individual does not find the strength to face one’s challenges head on and remain positive. Huppert’s performance is not to be missed as she once again demonstrates that she is one of the finest actresses on screen.