Opening 6 Jun 2019
Writing credits: Olivier Assayas
Principal actors: Guillaume Canet, Juliette Binoche, Vincent Macaigne, Christa Théret, Nora Hamzawi
Olivier Assayas (Personal Shopper) just loves to spoof elite Parisian society, spotlighting their messy private lives while they confront the menace of the modern digital world. Alain (Canet) is a dishy middle-aged editor at an established publishing house in Paris who is attempting to find a market for the printed book while balancing his time between his wife Serena (Binoche) and, yawn, his young, blond digital transition manager Laure (Théret). Serena suspects the affair but is busy filming a TV series in which she pretentiously describes her character as a crisis management expert; in reality she plays a cop. Not to be outdone she has her bit on the side, too, an affair which has been going on for six years. Léonard (Macaigne), the familiar disheveled author, is just trying to get his next book published by Alain, who finds his writing no longer relevant in the era of blogs, Twitter, and e-books. Léonard’s awkward genre is auto-fiction, all his former lovers (à la Taylor Swift) seem to find their way (renamed) into his novels. Léonard’s wife Valerie (Hamzawi) is chasing her own dream working on the campaign of her local political hero who, as it turns out, needs a mini- intervention from her.
The performances of all the actors are brilliant, slyly endearing, and understatedly comical. My only criticism is that the subtitles flash across the screen so quickly, making you question what you have missed. Lacking fluency in French, it helps to be a speed reader to keep up with the constant bursts of witty repartee and long intellectual debates which only a French film can get away with. But make no mistake, Non-Fiction is a captivating comedy and enchanting from start to finish. (Pat Frickey)