Things to Come ★★½

Not only is Isabelle Huppert brilliant and an absolute marvel to watch in this, Mia Hansen-Love gives her an extraordinarily well-drawn character with enough flaws and contradictions to approximate an actual human being. But she then gives that character almost nothing to work with; the story here is a banal, aimless odyssey of a well-off philosophy teacher enduring several personal crises (including the end of her relationship with her husband, also a philosophy teacher!?) and heavy-handed metaphors about life and death. It's a bizarre combination of dramatic subtlety and thematic sledgehammering that just frankly doesn't work for me at all. None of the individual moments ring false, but collectively, they just add up to so little that really tells us anything beyond what's explicitly stated in dialogue, and as it wears on, you long for something to surprise you or trip you up emotionally and it just never happens. I felt much the same about Goodbye First Love -- all dressed up and nowhere to go, and oh yes, so much philosophy -- but it didn't have Huppert.

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