As with “Summer Hours,” Non-Fiction traffics in ideas and concerns without handing out leaflets; first and foremost, this is an empathetic and charming character piece, featuring top-notch actors (Binoche revels in a rare opportunity to be funny) enjoying richly clever dialogue.
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Non-Fiction isn’t a surrender, nor is it a call to arms. It’s an anxious — but strangely calming! — reminder that change is the only true constant, and that steering the current is a lot easier than fighting it. Nobody does that better than Assayas, even when it looks like he’s not even trying.
Assayas has often shown great wit in his screenplays (most recently in “Clouds of Sils Maria”), but there is a rhythm to his writing here that is surprisingly good.
Olivier Assayas drains the film of the playfulness at its margins, leaving only an esoteric lecture in its place.
This story of two couples dealing with change in their personal and professional lives, so packed with intellectual sparring, gets progressively lighter as it moves along, acknowledging the primacy of human interaction (foibles and all) over doctrine.
There are chuckles and even guffaws throughout, though the comedy is streaked with despair, and also great tenderness. It’s the latest evidence of the director’s gift for tackling grave subjects with the lightest of touches; the film flows airily along, then knocks you off-balance with the weight of its insights and implications.
[A] delightfully voluble new comedy.
The prolific French director clearly needed to breeze through this one – and the breeziness is infectious.
If the aftertaste is one of cinematic delight–the feeling of being invited to take part in those chats, not just to listen to them–credit goes to Assayas’ writing and a handful of phenomenal performances from the quartet and supporting cast.
Non-Fiction is incredibly witty, fast-paced, and unmistakably French.