HAPPY END (107 R)
A drama about a family set in Calais with the European refugee crisis as the backdrop.
Director: Michael Haneke
Writer: Michael Haneke
Stars: Isabelle Huppert, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Mathieu Kassovitz
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Director Michael Haneke follows his Oscar-winning Amour with a film of similar themes but a diametrically opposite approach in both scenario and tone. Replace the genteel and devoted music teachers in their hermetic Paris apartment with a sprawling and sometimes vicious business family running a construction company in northern France; instead of one single shocking act to consider, ponder a whole series of possible killings and suicides; now think black comedy instead of grand tragedy. Sometimes, Happy End feels like an untidy retort to the pointed Amour, but it is also, on its own merits, an exceedingly clever, thought-provoking and dark reflection on life, death and family relations. As the tough-minded head of the family business, Isabelle Huppert reprises the brisk bourgeoise she does so well; as the aging patriarch, Jean-Louis Trintignant is also back, again considering the necessity of assisted dying; Mathieu Kassovitz excels as a quietly nasty brother and the compelling young Fantine Harduin plays his opaque 12-year-old daughter, a disarming mystery at the core of the piece.
– Kate Taylor, The Globe and Mail