There haven’t been many movies that document dance music, which is odd seeing as it’s the most important musical movement since punk. 1999’s Human Traffic had its flaws but it was fun and bustled with the energy of an all-nighter; Mia Hansen-Love’s Eden, based on her brother’s experiences, sits in the corner and goes home early.
aris, 1992, and Paul (de Givry) and Stan (Conzelmann) are two budding DJs hoping to start their own club nights and release material under the moniker Cheers. Mum wants Paul to knuckle down at college and, later, find himself a nice girl, but the driven DJ has his eyes only on the prize, even when love-of-his-life Louise (Eteinne) threatens to leave. The years slip by and Paul and Stan bounce from one financial disaster to another. The debts ratchet up. They watch as Daft Punk gain popularity when their music doesn’t receive airplay. Their dreams slowly fade and it becomes increasingly obvious that’s it not going to happen.

t’s brave of Hansen-Love to bring a downer of a story to a scene that’s known for, and thrives on, its positivity – the similarly-themed Zac Efron vehicle We Are Your Friends will no doubt do the opposite – and to put an unlikeable character front-and-centre. But the story just sits there, the characters forgettable, their dream surprisingly rendered unrootable. Trawling through years 92, 95, 97, 01 and on, there’s no rhythm, no momentum - Eden doesn’t have the dynamism the tunes Paul and Stan so enthusiastically play. Hansen-Love manages to rope in Greta Gerwig as a romantic interest but even the normally luminous indie queen is stiff in her all-too-brief scenes.
t’s a shame because there is some good stuff here but tellingly all relying on the music. The opening scene boasts Jaydee’s classic Plastic Dreams; Daft Punk (played here sans helmets by Vincent Lacoste and Arnaud Azoulay) dropping then-unheard Da Funk at a house party; the girl playing piano along to Liquid’s memorable Sweet Harmony riff; the stroll through the club to the strains of The Orb’s A Huge Ever Growing..., the hands-in-the-air dancefloor scenes. Frankie Knuckles. Promised Land. Joey Beltram. A who’s who of classic House and Garage. There’s a genuine love for the music that shines through.