Success can be a mixed bag. An upstart French family with millions learn the hard way that money can’t buy happiness in Happy End. How many times has that scenario played out in the real world. So, let’s go abroad to see how the French do it in this classy Foreign melodrama from Mongrel Media now on view at the International Village or the Fifth Avenue Cinemas.
Every family has problems – no matter how large the bank accounts. Mix in big industry, an industrial accident and a screwed -up/doped -up heir apparent and you just know the Laurent family are in for some turbulent times – and that’s putting it mildly. And family succession is also front and centre as an aging Jean-Louis Trintignant so flawlessly portrays. It’s good to see some superb French actors still being able to display their talents as does Isabelle Huppert as a daughter trying to keep her son and others in line and out if trouble. Hard indeed.
Trappings of success and excess among the moneyed gentry get great Robin Leech coverage here. So, if you enjoy peeking into the world of the rich and famous that most of us dream about while never entering in our own then Happy End may do the trick. It’s not that memorable or meaningful a movie but it does offer good quality performances and tactfully looks at aging and dementia along with the problems of passing on power and privilege to those who may not be ready now or ever to continue that lineage/tradition – and how many times have we seen that play out in the real world?
By: Alan Samuel