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review

Isabelle Huppert stars in Things to Come.

The dedicated Paris high-school teacher Nathalie (Isabelle Huppert), who instructs graduating students in the basics of philosophy, loses her depressive mother, her grumpy husband and her prestigious publishing contract – and yet, finds a certain freedom. In the place of all she is missing, there is always sexual tension but never romance with a much younger protégé (Roman Kolinka).

In the hands of director Mia Hansen-Love and the heart-stopping Huppert, Things to Come (L'Avenir) examines the inevitable losses and possible liberation of late middle age with impressive sensitivity and restraint. There is a certain Gallic pretension here – the major inconvenience of her divorce is that her husband leaves their shared bookshelves in disarray; his appropriation of one specific philosophy text with all her notes really rankles – but the delicacy and intelligence that the film brings to Nathalie's situation is always admirable.