Things to Come (5 stars)

Things to Come

Mia Hansen-Løve's latest is an intimate and personal look at the devastation of loss, featuring a stunning turn from Isabelle Huppert

In her previous film, Eden, Mia Hansen-Løve took inspiration from her brother's heady lifestyle as a DJ and his eventual come-down. It was both a specific and universal exploration of ambition and failure, exploring a persistent refusal to give up on youthful dreams. Once again, Hansen-Love uses her family as inspiration – this time her mother – to tell a quietly powerful story about a middle-aged philosophy teacher whose world collapses around her. It's a poignant, wonderfully humorous and elegantly crafted meditation on ageing, and the joy of personal growth that can sometimes stem from great upheaval.

Lead Isabelle Huppert is simply incredible as Nathalie Chazeaux who has to come to terms with losing her job, her mother and her husband over a short period of time. Watching her pick up the pieces, the audience is whisked into her turmoil via intimate fragments of her life. Whether Nathalie is seen silently weeping while cuddling the fat, black cat let to her by her glamorous late mother (the marvellous Edith Scob), sarcastically mocking the marketing team who wish to make her academic texts more aesthetically appealing, or getting furious over which philosophy books her husband has taken in their separation she injects pathos and wit into her performance.

Post-divorce, Nathalie journeys to the country to visit her former student and protégé, Fabien (Roman Kolinka), the two of them wandering round the eye-catching rural setting and debating political ideology. There's a sexual tension bubbling under the surface between the two, but the strength of this masterfully drawn and complex relationship is the way in which Hansen-Love observes their highly charged intellectual discussions. The content of their chats is stimulating, but their real beauty is the the way in which she uses their dynamic to convey changes in attitude and passion in different stages of life.

As a filmmaker, Mia Hansen-Løve just keeps getting better and better and Things to Come marks her out as one of the most talented and exciting directors working today.

Key cities from Fri 2 Sept.

Things to Come

  • 5 stars
  • 2016
  • France / Germany
  • 1h 42min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Mia Hansen-Løve
  • Cast: Isabelle Huppert, André Marcon, Roman Kolinka, Edith Scob
  • UK release: 2 September 2016

Nathalie (Huppert) is a philosophy teacher whose finds herself having to soldier on as she loses her job, her mother (Scob, wonderful) and her husband over a short period of time. A poignant, wonderfully funny and elegantly crafted meditation on ageing; Huppert is simply incredible.