Everything Went Fine is a quiet film that won’t change your life but will make you think about it.
After a life-altering stroke, a daughter (Sophie Marceau) must choose between ignoring her father’s (Andre Dussollier) last wishes or helping him in his mission to end his own life.
Screened as part of the Glasgow Film Festival, this is a film made to be on the big screen.
Not because of mind-blowing special effects or particularly fantastical camera tricks, but because the challenging subject matter needs a space in which you can’t look away.
Director François Ozon is known for bending the laws of genre, everything is fine is no exception.
Ozon is not content to make a sad, quiet film and call it a day. The director still finds ways to shock audiences with surprising imagery and light-hearted moments of humour.
Sophie Marceau carries the film with her performance as Emmanuèle, the daughter with the impossible task.
She demonstrates her character’s inner struggle, not through dramatic outbursts so revered by Hollywood, but by quiet moments of pain written across her face before entering yet another hospital room.
The family dynamic in the film is just as realistic. Géraldine Pailhas, who plays opposite Marceau as her sister, perfectly reflects the love/hate relationship so common amongst siblings.
Everything Went Fine clearly prides itself on showing, not telling.
This is the film’s brilliance, but also its downfall.
The story leaves many questions about the characters’ pasts, and we are left struggling to piece their backstory together.
This isn’t a particularly bad thing. Without the heaviness of excessive backstory, the audience is free to fully immerse themselves in the main conflict of the film.
But in a story about life and death, it doesn’t make sense to shut us out completely. Ultimately, the emotional pay-off of the film isn’t what it could be if we connected with the characters more.
That is not to say that this film doesn’t pluck at the heartstrings.
Anyone who has witnessed a family member going through a long and difficult illness knows how much of a toll it can take.
Ozon doesn’t shy away from this for a second. We see death and ageing in a realistically raw light.
This is a welcome change to the “do not go softly into that good night” ideology people are often force-fed in difficult situations. Whether they want it or not.
Everything Went Fine is the epitome of French arthouse cinema. It will make you smile, cry, and think about the human condition. Just don’t expect to be doubled over in hysterics.
Featured Image Credit: Curzon