Everything Went Fine ★★★

Towards the end of a loved one’s life, hard decisions are often made. We think of death almost abstractly until its presence is near, partly out of aversion, partly out of disbelief that the life of someone you know can come to an end. For many of us, it is our parents or grandparents who we make these decisions with or on behalf of, and our closeness to them makes the decisions all the more harder to make. Everyone has their own perspective on death, dignity, and the afterlife, and these contrasting beliefs are forced to the forefront when someone is in great pain or met with the realization that they no longer want to live.

MV5BYTBlM2VhOGQtMWE1OS00ODgwLTgxNzktZGFmYmRjNGU3MDIzXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTM2ODQ1MDk2._V1_Everything Went Fine begins with Emmanuèle’s father Andre (André Dussollier) suffering a stroke. Emmanuèle (Sophie Marceau) is shaken by the incident, yet becomes even more unsettled after talking with her father afterwards. Andre tells her that he wishes to die, and that she must help him take his life. This is unfathomable to Emmanuèle, who harshly refuses. But as time goes on and her efforts to persuade Andre that life is still worth living falter, she begins to come to peace with Andre’s decision despite the constant hurt it makes her feel. She doesn’t agree that her father should take his life, but she knows that it is what he wants.

With the premise of the film set early on, director François Ozon shows Emmanuèle’s coming to terms with the request gracefully and with assurance as she begins to research assisted suicide and ethical euthanasia. She meets with lawyers and arranges transportation to Switzerland where Andre can legally end his life permitting he is of sound mind and not incapacitated. As it becomes clear that Andre is adamant about his decision, Emmanuèle coordinates final visits and outings with her father.

But as the days leading up to Andre’s travel gets closer, the legality of transporting Andre to Switzerland with this intention is put into doubt and the confession of a confidant uneasy with the idea brings Emmanuèle and her sister in for questioning by the police. By no means does Emmanuèle approve of Andre’s decision yet she believes that this is Andre’s decision to make. The scene with the police – and another with a religious individual – raises the topic of personal freedom, but Ozon does not pass judgment on their beliefs or Andre’s. And though Everything Went Fine is told from the perspective of Emmanuèle, Ozon is measured in his cinematic tone, matter-of-fact in telling Emmanuèle and Andre’s story.

Everything Went Fine is based on the memoir of Emmanuèle Bernheim, screenwriter of Ozon’s films Swimming Pool and 5×2. Bernheim passed away in 2017, and this film represents a heartfelt homage to her life, her grace, and her relationship with her father. It also represents one of five films in five years that Ozon has written and directed, and released to acclaim. These films are by and large not what the auteur is known for – provocation – but their thematic material and Ozon’s approach to these subjects represents a maturity for the director that shouldn’t be overlooked.

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