The main character in L’avenir, Natalie, is a collective portrait of women in their 50s, married a long time ago, with grown-up children and by that point extremely qualified in their careers. One day Natalie’s world of philosophy books and sloppy students’ essays gets shaken by the sudden leave of her husband after 25 years of marriage. Does it mean that her life is over? Nope. She faces it with grace only Isabelle Huppert can afford.
Despite the demands of her old manipulative mother, who’s actions are both funny and devastating, Natalie stays strong and resilient. She keeps going to school, where she teaches children to think and reflect, she meets her former student Fabien for a coffee, she says, she is doing just fine.
After the separation, Natalie’s revolution is over. There is no one to fight with, no one to lead. “I gained the freedom I’ve never had before” – she remarks to Fabien, while they are driving to his anarchist commune in the mountains far away from the noise of the city. There, laying in the field on the French countryside, with the book, she begins to discover this newly gained freedom.
The narrative flow, where Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s quotations fit so well, allows us to get frighteningly close to Natalie’s drama, let it resonate with our own and release some suppressed emotions.
The Mia Hansen-Løve film provokes a much needed discussion about the destiny of women getting divorced in their late middle age. It encourages women to move on, no matter what, don’t be afraid to step on the journey of reinventing themselves, get their personality back.
Text: Marina Borovaya