Anyone who caught the film adaptation of Jojo Moyes’s novel ‘Me Before You’ will get a twinge of déjà vu when watching François Ozon’s Everything Went Fine. Like that soapy romantic drama, it deals with the controversial issue of assisted suicide. Rather than a whirlwind romance between a handsome millionaire and a vivacious twentysomething, however, this French drama centres on the rocky relationship between a miserable elderly man and his weary adult daughter.
Everything Went Fine is based on a memoir by Emmanuèle Bernheim, a writer whose collaborations with Ozon have already delivered 2003’s sultry thriller Swimming Pool. Sophie Marceau plays Emmanuèle, who rushes to the hospital at the beginning of the movie upon hearing that her father André (André Dussollier) has suffered a stroke.
Shortly after being admitted to hospital, André asks Emmanuèle to arrange for an assisted suicide – a plea André doesn’t back away from even as his physical condition improves. Though André was never a particularly good father, she and her sister find it painful to grapple with their father’s desire to end his life. Eventually, Emmanuèle reluctantly looks into euthanasia at her father’s insistence, thus beginning a months-long application process to move him from his hospital bed in France to an expensive assisted suicide clinic in Switzerland.
You’re left with a nagging feeling that everything could have gone… better
Despite impeccable performances from its talented cast, we never get to know the characters intimately enough to connect. Even with the brief flashbacks to Emmanuèle’s childhood, the nature of her relationship with her father remains murky.
Meanwhile, Dussollier is the perfect image of a complicated and often callous man slipping into a shadow of his former self, but the film doesn’t fully commit to explaining some of André’s more perplexing decisions and practically breezes over his ongoing affair with a man who one of his his daughters refers to as ‘shithead’. In the end, you’re left with a nagging feeling that everything could have gone… better.