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Things To Come

Isabelle Huppert stars in this French dramedy about setting a new course later in life

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In Mia Hansen Love’s drama, Nathalie Chazeaux (Isabelle Huppert) is well situated. She has longtime job teaching philosophy at a Paris university; a steady academic publishing gig; a husband (also an academic); a charming house in town, another in Brittany; and two children. The only shadow is her depressive and demanding elderly mother (Edith Scob). Then, it all falls apart: Her husband leaves; the book deal dries up; the kids are grown; and so on.

Beneath the rarefied French-arthouse-film patina — there are actually boozy arguments about philosophy at a goat-cheese farm — is a more universal story of a woman of a certain age who loses all the defining markers of her carefully crafted life.

So what to do? Chazeaux lets her hair and guard down a bit, flirting with young men, taking in a cat, and learning to manage her newfound freedom. Things to Come is hardly action-packed, and much of it has the looser feel of disparate scenes that combine to form a whole rather than a plot-driven narrative. Huppert owns the role — and coming on the heels of Elle, this is the second of her films in so many months to find the French actress portraying a middle-aged woman taking charge of her destiny.


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