Everything Went Fine: “No emotion is missed or lost in this poignant portrait of what it is to be ill and ageing”
Premiering on Cannes second evening is French director François Ozon’s Everything Went Fine (Tout s’est bien passé). The filmmaker returns to the festival for the fourth time to compete for the Palme d’Or. His latest work stars Sophie Marceau, André Dussollier, Géraldine Pailhas and Charlotte Rampling. When André (Dussollier) suffers a stroke and is fully paralysed, he becomes dependent on his two daughters Emmanuèle (Marceau) and Pascale (Pailhas) to get his legal affairs in order, feed him, visit him incessantly and then, finally, to organise his assisted death.
The narrative is cleverly layered and, in just two hours, it somehow manages to capture every single struggle, misunderstanding, argument and frustration that make up parent-child relationships. André forgets one daughter’s birthday, never listens to either of their advice and openly favours one over the other. Just when Emmanuel and Andre are having a touching moment, the latter tells the former, quite casually, “you were such an ugly child”. The picture has no apprehension in showing that parents can be both their offspring’s favourite hero and ultimate villain.
This film is also a poignant portrait of what it is to be ill and ageing. Rampling’s brief but reeling performance as a sculptress suffering from Parkinson’s and depression is subtle yet deliberately jarring – in one scene she looks at her extremely ill husband, who has lost feeling in half his face, and mutters “he doesn’t look that bad” to a roaring audience. Everything Went Fine shows that there are many experiences one can have when nearing the end of their life: the recluse who silently struggles out of pride or embarrassment or the openly expressive one who makes demands 24/7.
Ozon beautifully encapsulates the human condition of being part of a family, illustrating what a group of people may have to go through simply because it is what is expected of them. The director’s use of close-ups means no emotion is missed or lost; everything is felt and seen just as it is happening, even if the characters are trying to hide it.
Everything Went Fine marks a triumphant return to Cannes from Ozon, delivering an array of fantastic performances and a heartbreaking but painfully authentic story.
Everything Went Fine does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews from our Cannes Film Festival 2021 coverage here.
For further information about the event visit the Cannes Film Festival website here.
Watch the trailer for Everything Went Fine here: