Gradually succumbing to dementia, George Laurent, the octogenarian patriarch of the Laurents, an affluent upper-bourgeois family, is uncomfortably sharing his palatial manor in Calais, the ...
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Georges and Anne are an octogenarian couple. They are cultivated, retired music teachers. Their daughter, also a musician, lives in Britain with her family. One day, Anne has a stroke, and the couple's bond of love is severely tested.
A 14-year-old video enthusiast is so caught up in film fantasy that he can no longer relate to the real world, to such an extent that he commits murder and records an on-camera confession for his parents.
A European family who plan on escaping to Australia, seem caught up in their daily routine, only troubled by minor incidents. However, behind their apparent calm and repetitive existence, they are actually planning something sinister.
Gradually succumbing to dementia, George Laurent, the octogenarian patriarch of the Laurents, an affluent upper-bourgeois family, is uncomfortably sharing his palatial manor in Calais, the heart of the infamous migrant jungle, with his twice-married son, Thomas, and Anne, his workaholic daughter who has taken over the family construction business. Divorced and frigid, Anne has to handle the impact of a disastrous workplace accident caused by her disappointing son Pierre's negligence, while at the same time, the urgent hospitalisation of Thomas' ex-wife from a mysterious poisoning, leads his sulky 13-year-old daughter, Ève, to live with her father and his new wife, Anais. Undoubtedly, in this family, everyone has a skeleton in the closet, and as the fates of the Laurents enmesh with insistent and ignoble desires, a peculiar and disturbing alliance will form. But in the end, some secrets are bigger than others.Written by
There's a growing trend towards vague ('different') overblown, Award orientated movies. This addition to the Michael Haneke stable, examines the lives of a business woman's family, her Dr Brother and his dangerously disturbed 13 yr old daughter. It's more likely to please audiences who congratulate themselves on being able to 'appreciate' items that try so hard at being 'arty', they simply end up being unpopular with mainstream audiences. Being 'different' requires more than simplistic, overlong, single camera takes - that have said all they have to say within the first 40 seconds but, go on for many minutes to make sure you got the 'message'.
Happy End has an existentialist oriented script that most likely involved a scant amount of pages but even so, outstays its welcome by up to half an hour. Good performances (as these certainly are) are not enough to save this somewhat laboured expose' of the self absorbed business folk it examines - especially when the director's camera also endlessly tracks actors as they walk from one distant place to the next and back again - simply padding out vast spaces of lose scripting.
This could be called imitation Bergman without the well crafted, intense, emotional involvements that drew the viewer into his style of intimate personal examinations. Now days, he's been given over to a new wave of movie makers who have discovered they can cheaply make movies by using fewer cameras and virtually eliminating the 'vital' editing process by up to 85%.
The viewer can also partly play this game - by using the modern viewing devises to save themselves wasted time by playing back half the padded content in 2 x speed... losing little or no story in the process. In this particular case it could be that Mr Haneke may have come to his retirement years - even though he obviously still enjoys working. For dedicated Haneke fans only.
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