Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset used the expression “man and his circumstance” to refer to the conditions surrounding one’s life that may determine the existential vicissitudes of an individual. In the case of “Things to Come” (“L’Avenir” in French) the existential conundrum is that of a woman. Nathalie (Isabelle Huppert) who teaches philosophy at a high school in Paris, a job she loves and enjoys, is married to a fellow philosophy teacher with whom she has had two children. She is also a successful author of a philosophy textbook, and when she is not with her books, her family, her students and former students who still visit her, she is visiting her demanding and very possessive mother, always finding some pretext to get her attention.
But the circumstances would suddenly change when Nathalie’s husband Heinz (André Marcon) just out of the blue tells her that he is leaving her for another woman. Nathalie would now be facing a new situation, but in the tradition of existentialism, she may likely find something that she didn’t have before: freedom.
“Things to Come” directed by Mia Hansen Løve is one of those movies that North Americans would characterize as “very European”: dialogues and sometimes just the facial expressions and body language of the actors are crucial in conveying the essential drama. There is also that notion of escaping from the city in search of something that is not quite defined. Above all, this is a movie about possibilities and choices you are suddenly able and aware that you can make.
This film is recommendable for those who like stories with some elements to think and perhaps discuss with your companion afterwards. But those unfamiliar with this type of existential questions may find it uninteresting.
Length: 100 min.
By Sergio Martinez – mtltimes.ca