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Critics reviews
Non-Fiction
Olivier Assayas France, 2018
Non-Fiction feels breezy, but this is a film in which, on multiple fronts, appearances don’t tell the whole story. Beneath its apparent lightness is something much thornier: a parable of integrity, compromise and betrayal.
October 18, 2019
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The disjunction between Non-Fiction’s relaxed tenor and the dizzying velocity of its discourse is the film’s defining tension. In this, Binoche’s performance, which finds a precise distance from the script’s sexual/intellectual antics, is the ideal complement.
August 12, 2019
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Maybe Jarmusch and Assayas’s generation of arthouse directors feels trapped by storytelling and wants to leave it behind. The Lettrist ending of Assayas’s Irma Vep pointed in that direction; in the years since, Assayas has become a more conventional filmmaker.
August 06, 2019
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Assayas, one of the most important and inventive living filmmakers, has more on his mind than just a My Dinner With Andre-style talkfest. Non-Fiction is not only about the subjects it declares itself to be about; it’s a subtle meditation on what it means to navigate them in a world where the line between public and private self seems increasingly blurred.
May 24, 2019
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In Non-Fiction, he generates plenty of atmosphere, but it’s suffocating. This would-be truth-telling movie lives up—or down—to his title: In scene after scene, it cultivates a realism that’s convincing without revealing very much at all.
May 10, 2019
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Assayas’s failure to offer critique means that he doesn’t supply the moral exemplar or catharsis of truly great cinema. Non-Fiction ought to be the movie of the year, but by flattering the squalid lives of the arbiters of Fake News, it fails.
May 08, 2019
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Non-Fiction is as close as Assayas, a great style mimic, has gotten to Eric Rohmer—an admirable goal for a work about the vicissitudes of romantic relationships.
May 03, 2019
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The movie’s very subject is the defense of a system that protects Assayas, no less than Léonard, from independent outsiders and upstarts, by treating them as national resources and luxury goods. The movie sells the same fantasy: the veneer of old-fashioned, old-world culture, without any level of difficulty.
May 03, 2019
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This is a sexy, fun film filled with a lot of zingers, but it also feels a little less personal than many of Assayas’ movies, perhaps in part because it’s not stuffed to the gills with songs he loves.
May 02, 2019
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A mostly delightful, occasionally exhaustingly word-drunk comedy of manners larded with giddy farce.
May 02, 2019
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Non-Fiction is a constant surprise, from its seductive visuals to its slippery story lines and witty dialogue.
May 01, 2019
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Either this is a comedy of adultery disguised as a meditation on the future of civilization, or the reverse. It’s pretty good fun either way, though it’s also very much a symptom of the condition it diagnoses, namely the profound complacency of the cultural elite (in France, but of course not only in France).
May 01, 2019
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This is Assayas’ homage to highbrow gabfests—the mid-period films of Woody Allen (complete with a Bergman reference) and especially the work of Éric Rohmer.
May 01, 2019
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Though the questions Assayas poses are engaging enough, his execution has so light a touch here that the substance simply floats away.
December 20, 2018
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As so often in Assayas’s work the kernel of authenticity that remains is the constancy of the passing of time, and the way we blindly yield to our private emotions even as they are fluid, malleable, transitory.
December 20, 2018
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A film exploring themes of authenticity, performance, fidelity, the limitations of fiction in capturing reality and lived experience, the meta nature of art imitating life, and how one navigates their professional, personal and cultural identity amidst a rapidly changing zeitgeist. . . . To call Assayas’s latest film thematically ambitious would be an understatement.
October 03, 2018
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Non-Fiction is a portrait of the present at once attuned to the zeitgeist and dated, a contradiction that often inhibits the film’s narrative momentum and ends up restricting the scope and impact of its critique.
September 03, 2018
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Delightfully and unapologetically intellectual, Olivier Assayas’ latest considers the implications of digital culture as well as more venerable questions of literary form and authorship.
September 02, 2018
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