Happy End

Watch Happy End

"Don't believe the title of this Michael Haneke film."
  • R
  • 2017
  • 1 hr 47 min
  • 6.6  (16,861)
  • 72

Happy End is a 2017 movie set in Calais, France, and it tells the story of a wealthy family that owns a construction company. The family consists of three generations, and they are all dealing with their personal issues, desires, and fears. The patriarch of the family, Georges Laurent (Jean-Louis Trintignant), is a retired head of the construction company who lives in a nursing home. Georges is tired of his life, and he wants to put an end to it but does not have the courage to do it himself. He asks his daughter Anne (Isabelle Huppert) for help, but she refuses to assist him, and their relationship becomes more and more strained. Anne has her problems with her son Pierre (Franz Rogowski), who is a drunken mess, and her brother Thomas (Mathieu Kassovitz), who she resents for his affair with her best friend.

The film opens with a clip of a mobile phone recording of a young girl riding her bike down a dirt road. She encounters a dead body and continues to record whilst wandering around before her father takes away her phone. We understand that the phone belongs to Eve (Fantine Harduin), who is Georges' granddaughter from his second marriage to his younger wife, Anaïs. After Eve's mother's suicide, she moves in with her father, Thomas, and his family. Eve is a disturbing character with a morbid fascination with the deaths of insects, and she spends her time spying on her family members and secretly recording their conversations.

The storyline of Happy End is not a traditional one, and it relies heavily on the characters' interconnected relationships and their inner turmoil. The film is a reflection of contemporary society, where families are no longer close-knit units, and individuals are struggling with mental health issues, loneliness, and a sense of personal inadequacy. The director, Michael Haneke, seamlessly tackles these themes with his trademark detachment and an unyielding focus on the actors' performances. The film's slow pace and stylized cinematography highlight the emotional turmoil of the characters, as their actions are often at odds with their words, and their facial expressions are at times deliberately inscrutable.

Jean-Louis Trintignant delivers a stunning performance as the elderly patriarch, Georges Laurent. His character embodies the despair and isolation of old age, and his sorrowful eyes and tragic presence are a constant reminder of the futility of life. Trintignant's scenes with Isabelle Huppert (Anne Laurent) are particularly poignant as they reveal the emotional distance between a father and a daughter who have spent their entire lives hiding their true feelings from each other. Huppert is equally impressive as the head of the family, and her portrayal of a successful businesswoman struggling to balance her personal and professional life is a testament to her outstanding acting range.

Mathieu Kassovitz is excellent as Thomas Laurent, Anne's younger brother. His character is the most flawed, and Kassovitz plays him with a finesse that elicits both sympathy and repulsion. Franz Rogowski as Pierre is another standout performance, and his portrayal of a man descending into alcoholism and despair is harrowing and realistic. Finally, Fantine Harduin's Eve is a disturbing and enigmatic character that showcases her precocious acting skills.

The film's title, Happy End, is ironic as it suggests a conventional resolution, but the opposite is true. The ending is ambiguous, and the characters' fate is left open to interpretation. The film provides no easy answers or resolutions, and its ending is indicative of the director's philosophy that human existence is a never-ending cycle of pain, loss, and isolation.

In conclusion, Happy End is a critically acclaimed movie that offers a poignant and honest portrayal of a family's struggles with emotional turmoil, mental health issues, and isolation. The movie's strengths lie in its stellar performances, masterful direction, and richly layered narrative. The film is not for everyone, and its slow pace and contemplative tone may be challenging for some viewers, but those who appreciate intelligent and thought-provoking cinema will find a lot to admire in Happy End.

Happy End is a 2017 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 47 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.6 and a MetaScore of 72.

Happy End
Where to Watch Happy End
Happy End is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Hulu, Amazon Prime, Apple TV Channels, Starz, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube VOD and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Happy End for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 47 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.6  (16,861)
  • Metascore