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Happy End

✭ ✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

France, Austria, Germany
·
2017

Rated R · 1h 50m

Director Michael Haneke
Starring Isabelle Huppert, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Mathieu Kassovitz, Fantine Harduin

Genre Drama, Comedy

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A well-off French family lives in a bourgeois bubble in northern France, oblivious to the human misery unfolding in migrant camps around the port town of Calais, a few miles from their home.

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WHAT ARE PEOPLE SAYING?

Ricardo Rico Profile picture for Ricardo Rico

Happy End is as cold, observational and difficult to approach as any of Haneke's films, in the best way possible. I thought the films approach to representing new technology and our relationship to it pretty novel and interesting. Filmmakers for a while have been trying to figure out how to make text messaging cinematic, and while Haneke's approach might not become the industry standard, I thought it was pretty compelling.

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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

70

Vox by Alissa Wilkinson

Most good films rely on their audiences to connect the dots a little, but Happy End is all dots, with none of the lines drawn in at all. The meaning is there, but you have to dig for it in the everyday events of a family’s life.
70

The Hollywood Reporter by Deborah Young

Even admitting that films like Cache (Hidden), The White Ribbon and Amour have raised the bar higher and higher, Happy End feels like it’s pulling its punches and not in their league. For one thing, it’s hard to pin down the theme of the piece.
91

IndieWire by Eric Kohn

Rather than smothering the material in bad vibes, the filmmaker uses them to gradually reveal a fascinating world in which anger and resentment becomes the only weapon any of these people know how to wield.
75

The Film Stage by Giovanni Marchini Camia

A major issue is that the characterizations don’t reach very deep and in the absence of a robust context or involving narrative, it’s actually the references to Haneke’s previous films that flesh out what is otherwise a rather perfunctory condemnation of the bourgeoisie equipped with the usual symbolic connotations.
70

Screen International by Lee Marshall

Haneke’s magisterial control of tone, actor and shot is not to be underestimated: there are scenes of quiet, nuanced authority and menace here that, true to form, compel our attention with their glacial brilliance.
100

The Playlist by Nikola Grozdanovic

As an austere and darkly comic family drama, and a scathing commentary about the kind of world our children are living in, Happy End is stunning cinema
100

The Guardian by Peter Bradshaw

It is not a new direction for this film-maker, admittedly, but an existing direction pursued with the same dazzling inspiration as ever. It is also as gripping as a satanically inspired soap opera, a dynasty of lost souls.
60

The Telegraph by Tim Robey

The director’s game is level, and typically mischievous, but lacks something - and it’s not just the vicious sting at the end of, say, Hidden.

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