It’s really something to marvel at that a film, on subjects as heavy, brooding and serious as old age, mortality and assisted suicide, could so refreshing, humorous and bereft of sentimentality, and more so, considering François Ozon’s penchant for bleak and unsettling movies. Adapted from the Emmanuèle Bernheim’s memoir who’d earlier written screenplays for Ozon’s Swimming Pool and the especially downbeat 5x2, Everything Went Fine – the wry and deadpan irony of the title becomes clear only at the end – seamlessly laced grief, pain and loss with disarming levity into a bittersweet work. The wealthy and retired businessman André (André Dussollier) – very well connected socially on account of being an art collector, but having complicated relationships with his dementia-stricken and separated sculptress wife (Charlotte Rampling), and his two daughters Emmanuèle (Sophie Marceau) and Pascale (Géraldine Pailhas) on account of his acid-tongued nature and homosexuality – finds his life turned into shambles upon suffering a debilitating stroke. Unable to bear such an existence, he literally demands his favourite Emmanuèle – who, in turn, has always had a complex love-hate bond with him – to help him die. That isn’t just an emotionally wrenching ask, but a legally challenging one too as they need to surreptitiously take help of an expensive Swiss facility administered by a soft-speaking lady (legendary German actress Hanna Schygulla in a cameo) to avoid getting arrested by the police. Marceau was both striking and brilliant as the conflicted woman who as a kid wished for her dad to die and now, ironically, must facilitate that – not because she wants to, but because she can’t say no to him – while Dussollier was surprisingly effective as the obstinate, difficult, mercurial and entitled father.
Director: Francois Ozon
Genre: Drama/Family Drama/Biopic