Everything Went Fine

****

Reviewed by: Richard Mowe

Everything Went Fine
"François Ozon makes what could have been an impossibly painful subject more palatable but nonetheless affecting." | Photo: Courtesy of Cannes Film Festival

The dilemmas about the end of life and assisted dying are brought in to soft focus by director François Ozon, who makes what could have been an impossibly painful subject more palatable but nonetheless affecting.

It helps, of course, that he has a thoroughly professional cast who knowingly lead us through the emotional dynamics in a way that spares none of the anguish yet provides sparks of comfort and illuminating perspectives.

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André Dussollier perfectly incarnates the curmudgeonly 85-year-old who insists that his daughter Emmanuèle (Sophie Marceau at the top of her game) helps him to end his life after a stroke has left him debilitated. He’s a man who is used to getting his own way … and why at the moment of death change the habits of a lifetime?

The family gather around, among them Emmanuèle’s sister (played by the ever dependable Géraldine Pailhas) and their mother Claude (Charlotte Rampling, equally on form) as a sculptress with a Parkinson’s condition who keeps a certain distance from her husband.

Based on the novel by Emmanuèle Bernheim about the author’s own relationship with her elderly father, the film weaves the emotional fabric with the practical: As euthanasia is outlawed in France the services of the organisation The Right to Die With Dignity are brought into the situation.

The material has added poignancy as Bernheim, who was a frequent Ozon collaborator, passed away from cancer in 2017.

Given the subject matter there is little prospect of a “happy" ending and yet André decides to embrace his fate with a last meal at one of his favourite restaurants. As a final journey it has to be one of the best ways to go.

Reviewed on: 04 Aug 2021
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A father asks for help to die.

Director: François Ozon

Writer: François Ozon, based on the book by Emmanuèle Bernheim

Starring: Sophie Marceau, Charlotte Rampling, Hanna Schygulla, André Dussollier

Year: 2021

Runtime: 113 minutes

Country: France

Festivals:

Cannes 2021
SSFF 2021

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