While Natalie's problems could affect someone of any age, the fact that Natalie is in her 60s is inescapable. Her loss is greater, and her task of rebuilding much harder, because of the life she has accumulated and cannot escape: her needy mother (Édith Scob), her children, and her overweight cat continue to impose themselves. Yet the desire to cling to life and seek meaning drives her on into the world, and Huppert's performance is an expertly precise depiction of a woman unsteadily treading a tightrope of determination over a valley of despair.
When Natalie isn't tending to her cat, she’s lecturing in Philosophy. Ruminations over Rousseau and revolution naturally follow, but the conversation is never too obscure, and Hanson-Løve successfully uses this to weigh up the personal value of thought against action, and truth against belief. Natalie’s lecturing also brings her into contact a generation of young philosophers, and this thread is the film’s most successful – Natalie finds herself at odds with their youthfulness, but Hanson-Løve refuses to portray age in terms of loss.
Every element of this film is tied to Natalie's character and Huppert's performance; luckily, Huppert is given the support she needs to flourish in the role. Restrained cinematography, an infrequent soundtrack, and careful editing combine to provide her with the space she demands, and she eats it up. Despite a lingering sense that the script never quite pushes Huppert far enough, and deeper levels of desperation and emotional depth remain untapped, Natalie's journey is undeniably moving one.
Things to Come is at its heart a powerful study of how ill-prepared we are for the uncertainty of the world despite how much we might theorise about it. ‘There's more to life than philosophy,’ Natalie informs Fabian (Roman Kolinka), her most brilliant and radical student. Where the balance lies between thinking and living remains unclear, but Hanson-Løve at least tells us that thought alone cannot solve our problems.
|What||Things to Come film review|
|Where||Various Locations | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Leicester Square (underground)|
19 Aug 16 – 19 Oct 16, Times vary
|Price||£determined by cinema|
|Website||Click here for more details|