THINGS TO COME is a French drama about Nathalie, a devoted philosophy teacher, wife and mother of two. She must reinvent her life when she loses her job, her mother dies and her husband leaves her for another woman. Her eyes are opened up to new possibilities when a former student comes back to pay his respects for what a marvelous teacher she was to him. She vacations with her former student in a house full of writers. Then, she returns to the city when her daughter gives birth to her first grandchild.
THINGS TO COME has a leisurely pace, but its long shots showcasing life in the city and the countryside, including breathtaking views of France, make for an easy story to follow. THINGS TO COME has a positive worldview and uplifting message. Even when all seems lost, life triumphs. Also, Nathalie has a Christian funeral for her mother. Throughout it all, Nathalie is able to reassert her own inner strength and persevere. Caution is advised for THINGS TO COME because of brief foul language and a scene of marijuana use.
(BB, CC, H, L, S, A, DD, M) Strong moral worldview about a teacher who, after a series of unfortunate events, maintains her hope in a positive outlook on her future, love, compassion and generosity toward family is displayed, female protagonist sits with a priest and reminisces with him about all her late mother’s good qualities while honoring mother’s wishes for a church funeral, family attends funeral in beautiful church, visible image of a cross, and pastor prays over deceased body, some humanist philosophical discussions; four obscenities and no profanities; light violence includes female protagonist throws a vase full of flowers off the table violently in reaction to her husband cheating on her; implied adultery as protagonist’s husband leaves her for another woman; no nudity; woman and family drink wine at dinner, family drinks champagne on Christmas; smoking and high school teacher and former student smoke marijuana together; and, lying and dysfunctional family.
In the French movie THINGS TO COME, Nathalie is a devoted high school philosophy teacher and writer, who seems to have life figured out. She lives in France with her husband, has a secure job and spends her free time reading books and making dinner for her grown children when they come to visit. She’s a committed wife, mother and daughter who routinely checks on her elderly mother. Shortly after the start of the movie, everything comes crashing down in Nathalie’s life.
Nathalie’s grown daughter finds out her dad is having an affair, she confronts him one afternoon, demanding him to tell Mom. That evening, Heinz tells Nathalie he’s leaving her for another woman. Horrified and hurt, Nathalie demands he leave the house while she cries herself to sleep.
The next day, Nathalie’s publishers inform her the series of philosophy books she has sold for so many years to go along with her teaching curriculum are outdated and not hip enough. They urge her to write with a more universal appeal, dumbing down her intelligence and choosing a bright, flashy book cover to help with sales. Nathalie takes one look at the book covers, deciding they all look like M&M’s and refuses to do it. Shortly after that, she’s fired from her position as a teacher.
All Nathalie seems to have left is her dramatic Mother, a former actress, who calls her nonstop to tell her about more of the expensive clothing she bought on credit. Nathalie loves her mother, but mental illness has begun to take over and her life is ruled by the next exaggerated phone call from her mom. Nathalie moves her Mother to an assisted living home, only to get more grief from the staff, who call her more than her Mother did and informing Nathalie what a difficult person her Mother is and that she refuses to eat or come out of her room.
Nathalie goes to visit her Mother, sharing a sweet mother and daughter moment, and opening up to her about her failed marriage. Her mother says she shouldn’t have married a man with such a dreadful first name like Heinz, allowing for a wave of comedic relief. Tragedy strikes again a few days later, however, when Nathalie’s mother dies.
Despite all the difficulties she had trying to take care of her mother, Nathalie honors her mother’s wishes for a funeral in a church. Nathalie sits with the priest and reminisces with him about all her mother’s good qualities. The whole family attends the funeral in a beautiful church, with the visible image of a cross, and the priest prays over the mother’s casket.
Even so, Nathalie now feels the weight of the world upon her. When Fabien, one of her former students, comes to visit, she opens up to him about the spiral downfall of her life. He invites her to vacation with him and his friends in a country house full of like-minded writers. She joins him and brings her dead mother’s irascible black cat with her.
Inside the castle-like home overlooking a beautiful landscape of rolling hills, Nathalie reasserts her own persona as she relaxes and rediscovers her own mental and emotional strength. She drinks wine outside under the stars, roams around the land, reads books under the sun, and smokes marijuana with the younger writers and students. While staying there, she decides life is too short to worry about finances, a stable job and security. She accepts her recent disappointments in life and opens her heart to forgiveness.
At Christmastime, Nathalie returns home for the birth of her first grandchild. She goes to the hospital to see the baby, holding the newborn with her former husband beside her, putting aside her broken heart for the sake of her daughter. No longer feeling the pressures of the world, Nathalie has found the ability to enjoy every moment, good and bad. She is healed.
THINGS TO COME is a warm, emotional movie with an intricate insight into one woman’s life. It has a positive, moral worldview and uplifting resolution, reminding viewers that life is too short to worry about things we can’t control. Caution is still advised for THINGS TO COME because of brief foul language, mature themes and the scene of marijuana use.
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