Gradually succumbing to dementia, George Laurent, the octogenarian patriarch of the Laurents, an affluent upper-bourgeois family, is uncomfortably sharing his palatial manor in Calais, the ... See full summary »
Nathalie teaches philosophy at a high school in Paris. She is passionate about her job and particularly enjoys passing on the pleasure of thinking. Married with two children, she divides her time between her family, former students and her very possessive mother. One day, Nathalie's husband announces he is leaving her for another woman. With freedom thrust upon her, Nathalie must reinvent her life.
Nathalie (Isabelle Huppert) is annoyed by an aggressive theater patron while trying to watch the 2010 film Certified Copy at the cinema. That film's costar, English baritone William Shimell, appeared alongside Huppert in Michael Haneke's 2012 film, Amour. Huppert has never acted in a film alongside Certified Copy star Juliette Binoche, but the two have, independently of one another, collaborated with Amour director Haneke several times. See more »
Nathalie is shown walking through the mud flats exposed along the beach at low tide. As she walks, she is clearly following footprints. Since the mud was previously underwater, the footprints must be from a previous take of Isabelle Huppert walking along the same path. See more »
Greetings again from the darkness. What was once a rarity is now becoming more commonplace movies made by women about women. This latest from writer/director Mia Hansen-Love (Eden, 2014) features one of the most interesting lead characters from any film this year.
Nathalie (Isabelle Huppert) is a philosophy professor, writer, longtime wife to Heinz (Andre Marcon), mother of two grown children, and care-taker to a depressed, slightly-dementia-stricken mother (Edith Scob) who is prone to calling for emergency workers when Nathalie doesn't answer her phone calls. The film offers no murder mystery, alien invasion or other earth-rattling event. Instead it guides us through Nathalie's process in dealing with life things that occur on a daily basis.
The genius of the film, script and character stems from the fact that Nathalie never creates drama where none exists a rare personality trait these days. Rather than plead for mercy from the universe, she simply plows forward during what would be three personal-world-crumbling events in a lesser movie: her husband cheats and leaves her, her mother dies, and she is fired (or at least forced to move off her method) from the job she loves.
Ms. Huppert delivers yet another stellar performance (see her in this year's Elle) as Nathalie. She is an intellectual and thoughtful woman, but not necessarily the warm and cuddly type. Sure she cares for her family and inspires her students, and rather than lash out at her confessing husband, she only shows frustration when he takes a couple of her beloved books in his move out (or stuffing his flowers in the trash can). Disappointment is more obvious when her prized former-pupil Fabien (Roman Kolinka) is unable to competently debate his radical views with her choosing instead a condescending, brusque approach designed to shut her down.
Nathalie is more shocked by her publisher's intention to "modernize" her book than by finding "The Unabomber Manifesto" on the shelf at Fabien's commune for intelligent anarchists. The politics of a particular situation has influence on nearly every scene, and Ms. Hansen-Love's script emphasizes the importance of seasoning/experience in handling life and does a remarkable job contrasting those who have it from those who don't. Few movie soundtracks include both Woody Guthrie and Schubert, but then both fit well when the story avoids a mid-life self-discovery, and instead focuses on the realization of freedom. These are two very different things, and you'd have a difficult time finding a better look than this film offers.
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