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There are moments in Olivier Assayas’s publishing-industry drama Non-Fiction that are so enragingly mannered that you are tempted to go on a book-burning rampage just so the cast of this literary talkathon have to find something else to bang on about. Then there are other scenes that crackle with intelligence and sexual tension, in which elegantly tuned microaggressions lie in wait like landmines. On balance, writer and director Assayas just about pulls it off: the film is uneven, certainly, but the fascinating, flawed characters reel us in.
It’s a film populated by people who will bicker obsessively over the future of publishing, who declaim that tweets are a kind of modern haiku, but for whom infidelity barely merits a throwaway comment. Publisher Alain (Guillaume Canet) is involved with a colleague; his wife, Selena (Juliette Binoche), an actress, has been having an affair with Léonard (Vincent Macaigne), an author whose autofiction was, until recently, published by Alain.
Sharp and textured performances humanise the characters. What’s intriguing about the picture is working out how much Assayas is in fact talking about his own world, with literature’s uncertain future a smokescreen for a similar debate about cinema.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Non-Fiction review – intriguing publishing drama | Drama films