Everything went fine  (Tout s’est bien passé)(15) | Close-Up Film Review

Dir. François Ozon, France/Belgium, 2021, 113 mins, in French/German/English with subtitles

Cast:  Sophie Marceau, André Dussollier, Géraldine Pailhas

Review by Carol Allen

Francoise Ozon’s film is in some ways a tribute to his late friend Emmanuèle Bernheim, with whom he wrote the screenplays for several of his earlier films.  This film is based on Bernheim’s published memoir about her father André and his request to her to help him end his life, after he suffered a stroke which left him a shadow of the man he once was.

It is a powerful story about a controversial contemporary issue and is well told in a straightforward and sympathetic manner with considerable humour and warmth and without preaching or arguing a point of view.  Ozon is interested in the people, not in proselytizing for a particular point of view. This is just how it was and how this particular family dealt with it.

For almost the entire film André Dussollier as 85 year old André is playing the man after he was disabled. yet it is obvious he is and has always been a strong, not always likeable man, who likes to get his own way.  He can be rude and bullying but you cannot help but sympathise with his point of view.   Sophie Marceau plays his elder daughter, the real life Emmanuele, who loves her father deeply, despite the fact that he is a difficult old so and so. 

At first she is shocked and totally resistant to the idea of helping her father to die but gradually her mind changes.  There are also the legal implications to be considered.   Assisted suicide is illegal in France as it is in the UK, so there are practical problems too in getting André legally to Switzerland.   Emmanuele is supported in her dilemma by her partner Serge (Éric Caravaca) and her sister Pascale (Géraldine Pailhas), though a spanner is thrown into the works by Andre’s gay lover Gerard (Grégory Gadebois), who does nothing to help and everything to hinder and is thoroughly disliked by the sisters, who refer to him as Grosse Merde (Shithead).

As in the real life situation, Andre’s wife Claude (Charlotte Rampling), a renowned artist, is by this time in her life an invalid suffering from dementia and therefore not able to take any part in the decision.

This is a beautiful and thought provoking film which may well cause people to consider the moral question of whether under certain circumstances a human being has the right to end their own life and to ask others to assist.   But it is above all a beautifully told, true human story.