Film: Everything Went Fine

 

 

 

For a film about a man who wants to die, Everything Went Fine is touching, funny and remarkably enjoyable.

It stars the wonderful Sophie Marceau as the reluctant daughter whose irascible old father (an impressive Andre Dussolier) demands that she helps him to end his life.

And its director, the prolific Francois Ozon, tackles this controversial subject with a light touch, telling an absorbing story without carrying a banner for social reform.

Marceau, who has been an international star since her first film at the age of 14, is now 55 and as beautiful and compelling as ever.

She plays Emmanuelle, a Parisian author with a thorny relationship with her father Andre, a wealthy art collector who is used to having his own way.

At 85, he suddenly suffers a debilitating stroke. Emmanuelle and her sister Pascale (Geraldine Pailhas) rush to the hospital to find him partly paralysed, frustrated and angry.

 

 

Their mother Claude (Charlotte Rampling) is brought to visit him but seems unmoved. She is a celebrated sculptor but suffers from Parkinson’s disease and chronic depression.

“Your father doesn’t look so bad,” she comments, then instructs her nurse to get her out of there.

Another unwelcome visitor is a man named Gerard (Gregory Gadebois) — or “shithead”, as the girls call him – who insists on seeing Andre, though his visits are upsetting.

Emmanuelle is devastated when her father shakily tells her: “I want you to help me end it.” She storms off, furious that he should ask her do to such a thing.

“What an asshole – right to the end,” she comments to her sister.

As Andre gradually improves and is transferred from hospital to a nursing home she keeps hoping he will change his mind.

But the old man is uncompromising. “I can hardly move now. I can’t do simple everyday things,” he says.

Eventually she gives way and starts the complicated process of arranging for a death by choice despite the fact that this is illegal in France.

 

 

She contacts a Swiss organisation called The Right to Die With Dignity, meets their representative, fills in forms, records her father’s wishes, arranges for him to travel by ambulance to a Swiss clinic in Bern.

The clinic will charge 10,000 Euros for their services. “I wonder how poor people do it,” muses Andre.

“They wait to die,” says Emmanuele.

There are hitches along the way, of course, but everyone is relieved when they finally agree on a suitable date.

Andre celebrates by attending his grandson’s music recital and by enjoying a fabulous meal at his favourite restaurant with Emmanuelle and her husband.

The film is an affectionate tribute by director Ozon to his late friend, the writer Emmanuelle Bernheim, whose memoir about her father’s death he adapted for the screenplay.

Everything Went Fine will open on Thursday, May 19, at Luna Leederville.

 

 

Watch the trailer…

 

 

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