- STUFF -
One of France’s most eclectic and engaging directors of the past two decades has done it again.
Crafted an involving and compelling female-led film that explores the human condition, while offering food-for-thought and an engrossing watch at the same time.
The 54-year-old film-maker’s last movie was an evocative coming-of-age story called the Summer of ‘85, this is a provocative end-of-life story about someone at the age of 85.
Inspired by his Swimming Pool and 5x2 screenwriting collaborator Emmanuèle Bernheim’s 2013 memoir about her experiences with her own father’s failing health, Everything Went Fine details the last months in the life of Andre Bernheim (André Dussollier).
Rushing to his hospital bedside after he has a suspected stroke, daughters Emmanuele (Sophie Marceau) and Pascale (Geraldine Pailhas) both recognise he has a long recovery ahead of him. But while they deal with his estranged wife Claude’s (Charlotte Rampling) indifference to his plight – not helped by her depression and degenerative brain disorder – and attempt to keep him away from the influence of the pesky, persistent Gerard (Gregory Gadebois), the sisters face an even bigger dilemma when he asks Emmanuele to “help me end it”.
With him not sick enough and it too risky for her for anything to happen in France, Switzerland appears to be the best option for carrying out his wishes. After a woman explains the process, he sets out to instantly prove he’ll be capable of what’s required from him. “I’ll need a strong dose,” he boasts, “since my bypass, I’ve had the heart of an ox.”
Unfortunately, he’s also had loose lips and, in amongst his revelations of his intentions to various family and friends, he’s alerted someone who has gone straight to the authorities. Now there’s some awkward police questions to answer – and getting him across the border just got a lot harder.
Featuring a terrific performance from former Braveheart star Marceau, Everything Went Fine impresses with its lack of histrionics or grandstanding. This is a poignant and absorbing familial drama that transforms late into a race-against-time thriller that will surprisingly have you on the edge of your seat.
Perfectly paced, Ozon infuses his story with an intimate, almost documentary style to the camerawork, using close-ups to capture every emotion running through his characters’ minds as the situation constantly changes.
Whatever your feelings about euthanasia, this is a story that invites discussion and will stay with you long after its final frames have disappeared from the screen.
- James Croot, STUFF
Everything Went Fine opens 08 September in select theatres across New Zealand!