“If the films of Mia Hansen-Løve are haunted by the merciless march of time, they’re less preoccupied with its passage than they are with its ellipses,” begins David Ehrlich at Little White Lies. “Whereas Richard Linklater plays the subject like an accordion, collapsing the years together and pulling them apart in order to transform the space between, Hansen-Løve bangs on it like a drum, her staccato stories finding beautiful music in the off-beats. Eden is the 33-year-old’s fourth feature, and while its male lead, historical interest, and occasional American setting might suggest that it’s a departure from her previous work, this riveting but resolutely uncool epic ultimately feels like less of a new direction than it does a new perspective.”
“It’s a film about the folly of insisting on dreaming of youth after youth,” writes Kiva Reardon for Cinema Scope. “The party begins in 1992, as Paul (a fresh-faced Félix de Givry) aspires to become the next big DJ, like his pals Daft Punk. In between parties, lovers (including Greta Gerwig playing Greta Gerwig) and snorting lines of coke, Paul finds some minor success spinning records while at the same time spinning his wheels. Time marches on, while Paul insists on remaining lost in the (increasingly outdated) music. Suddenly (for him), it’s 2013: he’s broke, 32, and living back at home. The party, as the song goes, is over.”
“Based on real life events, Hansen-Løve has an acute eye for the details of Paul’s world,” writes Paul MacInnes for the Guardian. “Glamour is twinned with mundanity, beauty with boorishness and friendship with selfishness, while artistic endeavor is undercut by self-indulgence. Many people will identify with the moments of euphoria in a club, followed by the bouts of tears the next morning… Films that attempt to chronicle this lifestyle, never mind understand it, are few and far between (Human Traffic anyone?). One that can do so with both perspicacity and affection is a welcome pleasure.”
“The director of Father of My Children and Goodbye First Love once again chronicles life’s nagging habit of not working how we hoped, but her latest shows her working in a slightly more accessible vein,” writes Tim Grierson for Screen. “Paul isn’t a particularly dynamic character, which may lead some to contend that he brings on his own problems. But as played by de Givry, there’s a deep well of sadness in the young man… This is a challenging performance, one in which an unformed young man has to find himself, but de Givry makes Paul’s plight a small-scale treatise on thwarted aspirations.”
“Without overly stressing the period details, Hansen-Løve cleverly maps out the passing of time through subtle fashion cues and the gradually increasing use of cell phones,” writes Andrew Barker for Variety. “Scenes set in the clubs have a hugely lived-in authenticity, with Denis Lenoir’s photography capturing the delicate interplay of neon light on glassware and gyrating bodies, and Hansen-Løve is wonderfully attuned to the palpable electric currents that a perfectly mixed transition can send surging through a dance floor.”
For Jon Frosch in the Hollywood Reporter, “this graceful, deeply affecting movie has a soulfulness and sweep that mark it as a step forward for Hansen-Løve.” An A- from Indiewire‘s Eric Kohn and a B+ from Nikola Grozdanovic at the Playlist.
Update, 9/8: Ignatiy Vishnevetsky at the AV Club: “As in Hansen-Løve’s previous feature, Goodbye First Love, the characters don’t noticeably age; the approach is Boyhood inverted, the central focus being how and why particular obsessions—a romance in Goodbye First Love, a music genre here—endure across long periods of personal and cultural change. Despite—or perhaps because of—the broadness of its scope it struck me as less substantial than Hansen-Løve’s previous features, though her unconventional naturalism—which places low-key performances and images within eccentric frameworks—still makes for delicate, lifelike filmmaking, and her direction of actors (especially Etienne) is largely superb.”
Update, 9/10: “‘Mia Hansen-Løve’s Something in the Air‘ was the first thought that popped into my head,” writes Kenji Fujishima at In Review Online, “and not necessarily in a complimentary way. If (Hansen-Løve’s husband) Olivier Assayas’s memoir of life among young Europeans after the May ’68 demonstrations often seemed too beholden to recreating history to be all that engaging on a human level, Hansen-Løve’s epic chronicle of a DJ’s rise and fall during the height of the ‘French touch’ generation… in the 1990s onward is at times similarly alienating in its eschewing of the psychological in favor of the temporal.”