Witty and textured French romance comedy from director Olivier Assayas (Clouds of Sils Maria, Personal Shopper) that delves into the philosophy of 21st century publishing and the mundane lives of publishers and writers as they navigate their relational baggage and use their lives as source material for auto-fictions.
The film is a two-hour discussion and will likely lose most people who refuse to think about the subject of modern-day publishing for the two uncompromising hours, but the lives of the actors met with the clever writing in Non-Fiction will please fans of Woody Allen and Noah Baumbach.
The new one from Yorgos Lanthimos fails in his usual pattern: cowardly writing consummating in unfulfilled potential. Crude and boorish throughout, the centerfold of toxic femininity finds a love triangle of conniving female heroines equipped with the weapons of dissimulation as they “reduce their male counterparts to disposable extras.” If you switch the genders, no critic will embrace this film and yet, with the first 17 reviews, the critics have gone their usual way of uniform double-standard that will likely hand this film the screenplay Oscar. Gorging on the bakery of their ideological self-importance without a note of self-awareness, the critics remain aloof and unchanged in their ideological peddling.
That said, the film is beautifully shot — with impressive production and costume design, and a setting at Hatfield House deserving of a Yorgos extravagance. The fisheye lens filming worked sporadically, but should have been used more sparingly to retain some of its novelty. The lighting was exceptional especially in the latter moments where Emma Stone is on her last leg of sanity. But for the script, the period piece could have been worth the time given its stunning visual and sound. For those embracing the mantra that the “future is female” will take to The Favourite the way frat boys take to Quentin Tarantino.