Happy End: Film Review

I only really discovered Isabelle Huppert with last year’s Elle (I know, I’m sorry!) and now her name will encourage me to watch any film, and while she is excellent in Happy End, the film didn’t quite come together.

She plays Anne, head of the Laurent family company, who is currently enduring the fallout of a workplace accident. She wants her son Pierre (Franz Rogowski) to take over one day but it is clear he wouldn’t be the smart choice. Then there’s her brother Thomas (Mathieu Kassovitz), who has recently been reunited with his daughter Eve (Fantine Harduin) after his ex-wife overdoses, and the family patriarch Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant), who is trying to find a way to kill himself.

The performances all round were very, very good, I can’t criticise the film for that. It was also very funny, with an hilarious ending and scene in a karaoke bar, but the film as a whole is just fine. I didn’t care for any of them and I forgot about most of the movie as soon as I left (except the two scenes mentioned above). It annoyed me how major life events that took place during the period of the movie happened off screen and were spoken about after. I wanted to see those scenes happen!

Happy End was pretty entertaining and it embraced new technology, with some scenes comprising of an online chat (and a saucy one at that) or looking like they’re being live streamed from a phone. However, some scenes were very slow and quiet and filled with long shots that don’t always show much. So while I liked it and laughed plenty, I wouldn’t go as far as recommending it.

Originally seen as part of the BFI London Film Festival. In selected cinemas on Friday 1st December 

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