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  Everything Went Fine Ending It All
Year: 2021
Director: François Ozon
Stars: Sophie Marceau, Andre Dussolier, Geraldine Pailhas, Charlotte Rampling, Eric Caravaca, Hanna Schygulla, Gregory Gadebois, Judith Magre, Jacques Nolot, Daniel Mesguich, Nathalie Richard, Annie Mercier, Denise Chalem
Genre: DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Emmanuele Bernheim (Sophie Marceau) was working at home when she received the phone call nobody wants. It was from her sister Pascale (Geraldine Pailhas) to tell her that her father Andre (Andre Dussolier) has suffered a stroke, and she may want to rush over to the hospital immediately. This she does and finds her father in a lucid but distressed state in the ward, then tells her sister to go back to her home and she will call her if there are any developments. The next day, things have settled down more, but Andre still needs a lot of help though there is hope of recovery, but he convinces himself this is a permanent state, leading to him making a request of his daughter Emmanuele that she is extremely disturbed by...

Euthanasia is not a topic you might expect from director François Ozon, and yet here he was, presenting with great clarity the details of such a decision and the drawbacks it would have for the loved ones left behind. However, were they loved ones? Here was where the drama entered into it, for Andre has not been a fine figure of a father for his children, and this dying wish - which isn't really a dying wish as he can easily survive - grows more and more like a last act of manipulation and, to be frank, emotional bullying and utter selfishness. No matter how often Marceau tears up at the thought of not being able to contact her parent anymore, we detect sparse affection running in the opposite direction, indeed Andre is a complete bastard.

Does that mean euthanasia should be withdrawn from him as an option? It's not even a legal action in France, in fact Emmanuele has to make furtive plans under the noses of the authorities to get Andre to the Swiss clinic where he will be put to death, and even then there's no guarantee that the scheme will go ahead without police intervention. Nevertheless, Andre has his heart set on this demise and practically twists his daughter’s arm to get it to go ahead. Pascale is horrified, and as he tells a small circle of friends and relatives of this conclusion to his life, it is as if their father is looking forward to Christmas Day rather than the event that will kill him. This distasteful approach to the manner in which he is inflicting this emotional trauma, basically not giving a shit, offers the film a real edge and tension.

Performances all round were exemplary, emphasising the realism Ozon was aiming for which succeeds very well in selling the plot, but the central connection between Emmanuele and Andre, which we see in flashbacks has never been far away from fraught with issues, is one of the most unusual of its kind, and has the flavour of a nineteen-fifties Hollywood melodrama. Except you believe it thanks to the dedication of the players and the sincerity it is making you consider the implications. She’s not in it very much, but Charlotte Rampling as the Parkinson's afflicted mother is maybe the most powerful character away from the two leads: she patently couldn't give two hoots for her ex-husband, initially we think because she is too deep in her illness to care, but as time goes by we realise it's because she knows his tricks, sees what suckers he is playing everyone around him for, and wants no part of it. Maybe it's the wisdom of experience, but Andre, who is gradually getting better but all he wants to talk about is the euthanasia as a pick-me-up, turns more monstrous the further this progresses, and it's an uncomfortable experience.

[Everything Went Fine - in cinemas and on Curzon Home Cinema 17th June 2022.]
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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