A euthanasia drama that absorbs and moves, anchored by an excellent Sophie Marceau as a daughter coming to terms with her father’s desire to die, French film Everything Went Fine is based on the book of director Francois Ozon’s regular writing collaborator Emmanuel Bernheim, who went through the trials and tribulations detailed in the film. Marceau plays Emmanuele, the daughter whom father Andre – an excellent Andre Dussollier – leans on the most when he suffers a debilitating stroke aged 85. Geraldine Pailhas is younger sister Pascale, with children of her own, also struggling to come to terms with her father’s desire to go to Switzerland to die.
The family relationship is complicated: there is Charlotte Rampling’s depressed, Parkinsons-stricken wife and Gregory Gadebois’ Gerard, known as ‘Shithead’ by the daughters, who seems to plague her father. Flashbacks of Emmanuele as a child shows how the father-daughter relationship was fractious; Dussoliler makes Andre a demanding character, stubborn and often unlikeable if human.
The performances in Everything Went Fine are fantastic. Marceau’s bottled-up stoicism drives the film with nuance and subtlety in every character, from Eric Carvaca’s calm husband to Hannah Shygulla’s serene Swiss euthanasia clinic contact. Lacking in sentiment but still immensely powerful and free from judgement, the film veers towards thriller territory towards its climax as the daughters struggle to get their father to the clinic and evade French law.
There is a simplicity to the storytelling here, Ozon observing what is happening with understated skill and allowing the actors to tell the heartrending stories. The family indulge the father’s wishes, believing there is always a chance that he may change his mind, and the emotional turmoil of better days and happier moods turn into moments of despair. Despite occasional tonal slips, a few broader comedic moments falling flat and sitting uncomfortably, Everything Went Fine remains a quietly moving achievement told with economic humanity.
Dir: Francois Ozon (15, 112 mins)
Everything Went fine is out Fri 17 June
words KEIRON SELF
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