Aging, death, and the decisions we make surrounding those two issues are never easy topics to bring to the big screen. We don’t like to think about our mortality or the loss of those we love. Many films that tread this ground end up overly maudlin or just depressing. But when you find one that does it right, it is a treasure.
And that is exactly what Everything Went Fine is. A touching story with just the right doses of humor to make us smile amid the tears. It deals with the issue of euthanasia, as a stroke turns 80-something Andre from a vibrant, clever, and selfish man into a shell of his former self. Crippled and partially paralyzed, Andre asks his daughter, Manue, to help him do the unthinkable and end his life. Considering Manue used to fantasize about getting back at her cruel father, this might seem like just what she wanted, but the job proves to be more difficult and emotionally trying than she imagined. And as she begins to plan for the final event, complications arise in the form of family members and loved ones who desperately want Andre to keep on living.
If you like star power, this film has it. Everything Went Fine features a remarkable performance by Sophie Marceau as Manue. She is a César Award winning actress (France’s Oscar) who you will likely recognize from Hollywood blockbusters like Braveheart and when she played James Bond’s love interest in The World Is Not Enough. She is part of a stellar cast that does a remarkable job of capturing the humanity and grace of the difficult decisions happening on screen.
The picture is written and directed by François Ozon, considered one of the finest directors in France. He has been nominated for the César Award a stunning 19 times for writing, directing, and producing… but has never won.
I was surprised that Everything Went Fine did not engage in a lot of the usual hand-wringing and moral debate surrounding euthanasia. Instead, it lays things out in a fairly simple fashion and trusts the audience to understand the decisions these characters face. It is a rewarding film and one sure to inspire thoughtful conversation once it is over.