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TIFF 2017 Review: “Happy End” (2017) ★★★★★


Michael Haneke is such a name whose every movie sees a rush like a bee does towards honey. His AMOUR, White Ribbon and many other critically acclaimed pieces are a rarity one would like to keep in the museum to preserve for the next generation. His new feature film Happy End is another approach to show the life of a bourgeois family that with all its ups and downs try to get its own happy ending. It depends how you will interpret it, but one thing is certain: trouble never runs its blank check to see how much money one has before striking it. It strikes whenever it wishes or finds a family which fits into its categories and it appears that the Laurent Family could be a real role model for that.

The movie follows the Laurent Family. Anne (Isabelle Huppert) has two sons. Both of them have an interesting life you will be delighted to learn. Thomas’ ex-wife just attempted to commit suicide. While she is still in intensive therapy at Lille’s hospital where he is a Chief Surgeon, Pierre is a contender to take over the family business. But the only thing Pierre seems to care about is to make his drinking desire more habitual. Eve is Thomas’ 12-year-old daughter who just moved into the family mansion and is way too curious about everything that goes around the house. And Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant), an 84-year old head of the family, who is so embarrassed of his family that he is willing to escape as soon as the chance is given… and if that chance is to give up his life for eternity – that is something he also considers as a reliable and long-term option.

Happy End that celebrated its Canadian premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival gives an outstanding, rich, and delicate look into a family where the financial situation was their least problem, but rather the problems they keep inside of the house, as it it was their own treasure they would not want to share with anyone else. Thomas, for instance, is married to Anais but keep texting or chatting with Claire, with whom he shares a wild and dark sexual desire. Eve, his daughter, asks him, “Will you take me with you when you leave Anais?” And when someone asks that kind of questions… you know not to expect a happy ending no matter how wonderful things are  around… and that’s why Michael Haneke’s film is real… Because he like no one else knows how to exploit family matters onto the big screen.

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