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Happy End (2017)

R | | Drama | 22 December 2017 (USA)
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A drama about a family set in Calais with the European refugee crisis as the backdrop.

Director:

Michael Haneke

Writer:

Michael Haneke
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4,916 ( 442)
1 win & 7 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Isabelle Huppert ... Anne Laurent
Jean-Louis Trintignant ... Georges Laurent
Mathieu Kassovitz ... Thomas Laurent
Fantine Harduin ... Eve Laurent
Franz Rogowski ... Pierre Laurent
Laura Verlinden ... Anaïs
Aurélia Petit Aurélia Petit ... Nathalie
Toby Jones ... Lawrence Bradshaw
Hille Perl Hille Perl ... La gambiste
Hassam Ghancy ... Rachid
Nabiha Akkari ... Jamila
Joud Geistlich Joud Geistlich ... Selin
Philippe du Janerand ... Maître Barin
Dominique Besnehard Dominique Besnehard ... Marcel, le coiffeur
Bruno Tuchszer Bruno Tuchszer ... Inspecteur chantier 1
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Storyline

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 Nick Riganas

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Don't believe the title of this Michael Haneke film.

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some sexual material and language | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

France | Austria | Germany

Language:

French | English

Release Date:

22 December 2017 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Final fericit See more »

Filming Locations:

France See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$13,600,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$301,718, 22 March 2018
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is Jean-Louis Trintignant's second collaboration with director Michael Haneke, although he dubbed the voice-over in Haneke's The White Ribbon (2009). That would make it the third. See more »

Goofs

When Mathieu Kassovitz's character drives his daughter home and she begins to cry, he appears to pass the same building (with a red and silver car parked in front of it) two times. See more »

Connections

References Beau travail (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

Chandelier
Composed by Jesse Shatkin
Performed by Sia and Franz Rogowski (karaoke)
See more »

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User Reviews

 
in their own bleak world
18 January 2018 | by ferguson-6See all my reviews

Greetings again from the darkness. Austrian filmmaker Michael Haneke has blessed us with, what I consider, at least five excellent movies (AMOUR, THE WHITE RIBBON, CACHE, FUNNY GAMES, THE PIANO TEACHER), and though it's been 5 years since his last, there is always a welcome anticipation for his next project. Unfortunately, this latest is esoteric and disjointed even beyond his usual style. In fact, at face value, it just seems only to be an accusation lobbed at the wealthy, stating that their privilege and cluelessness brings nothing but misery and difficulty to themselves and the rest of society.

We open on an unknown kid's secretive cell phone video filming of her mother getting ready for bed, followed by the mistreatment of a pet hamster as a lab rat, and finally video of her mother passed out on the sofa - just prior to an ambulance being called. Our attention is then turned to a family estate in Calais, which is inhabited by the octogenarian patriarch Georges (Jean-Louis Trintigant), his doctor son Thomas (Mathieu Kassovitz) and daughter Anne (Isabelle Huppert), Anne's malcontent son Pierre (Franz Rogowski), Thomas' wife and infant son, and the Moroccan couple who are household servants. While her mother is being treated for an overdose, 13 year old Eve (Fantine Harduin), moves in to the estate (Thomas is her re-married father). It's here that we learn the opening scenes were Eve's video work ... clearly establishing her as a damaged soul.

Initially, it seems as though we will see the family through Eve's eye, but what follows instead is the peeling back of family layers exposing the darkness and menace that haunts each of these characters. Georges appears to be intent on finding a way out of the life that has imprisoned his body and is now slowly taking his mind through dementia. Thomas is carrying on an illicit affair through raunchy email exchanges. Anne is trying to protect the family construction business from the incompetence of her son Pierre, while also looking for love with solicitor Toby Jones. At times, we are empathetic towards Eve's situation, but as soon as we let down our guard, her true colors emerge. The film is certainly at its best when Ms. Harduin's Eve is front and center. Her scene with her grandfather Georges uncovers their respective motivators, and is chilling and easily the film's finest moment.

The film was a Cannes Palme d'Or nominee, but we sense that was in respect to Mr. Haneke's legacy, and not for this particular film. The disjointed pieces lack the necessary mortar, or even a linking thread necessary for a cohesive tale. What constitutes a happy end ... or is one even possible? Perhaps that's the theme, but the film leaves us with a feeling of incompleteness - or perhaps Haneke just gave up trying to find such an ending, and decided commentary on the "bourgeois bubble" was sufficient.


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