The first time I remember seeing Isabelle Huppert was in the 1983 World War II flick "Entre Nous", it was one of the first foreign language films I purposefully went to see. She was amazing and captivating and made me pay more attention to those cute French actresses; one of the reasons I am such a huge fan of Marion Cotillard.


Unlike Marion, though Huppert has been in a few films that won Best Foreign Language Oscars ("Entre Nous", "Amour") she has never even been nominated, which seems like a crime. This year, she has a shot at not only being nominated but a very good shot at winning her first ever Best Actress in a Lead Role for "Elle".


Ironically, in addition to that impressive performance, she also gives a stellar performance in this more subtle film about sudden changes in life. Interestingly enough, the story here isn't too far off from the last film Marion Cotillard was nominated - "Deux Jours, Une Nuit" ("Two Days, One Night") in which a French woman finds herself suddenly threatened with the loss of income.

Huppert portrays Nathalie, a tenured philosophy professor who is well published, married to another philosophy professor, Heinz (André Marcon) who is also tenured. Living with them is her neurotic mother Yvette (Edith Scob) who still gets around, but is mentally nearly bed-ridden. Yvette has a big old black cat, Pandora, who is just about as moody and to which Nathalie is allergic.


Nothing is out of the ordinary until one of Nathalie's old students, Fabien (Roman Kolinka), returns from the past as a neo-radical activist living in the middle of nowhere. Nathalie makes nothing of it until it turns out that Fabien might be the good news. Life is rolling along when her nearly grown children make a discovery and compel Heinz to confess.


Then Heinz confesses to Nathalie that he not only has a lover, but he is leaving Nathalie for the lover, because t he children forced him to chose either their mother or the lover. Then her mother's condition gets worst and she is forced to put her in assisted living which is a pain and, moreover, doesn't allow cats. Finally, Nathalie is informed that her nice stable professorship is being terminated and her publishers are dumping her as well.


She seems to take everything well; she even comments that she is taking everything well. But Huppert does what few actresses can do. She emotes subtle little, well nuanced indications that she is not taking the new events well. Her character bends and cracks, though it never breaks.


A lesser actress would have ruined the moment. Huppert takes the moment and makes it memorable. She is a rock, for the most part, but there is still some gooey clay still in the character that makes you appreciate the situation.


"Things to Come" is perfectly directed by Mia Hansen-Love who guides the veteran Huppert to what could easily be a second Best Actress nomination. The performance will make you recall every other Huppert film you've never seen to appreciate her greatness. [French with English subtitles]   -- GEOFF BURTON