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Review: Happy End

While twisted and funny, Haneke has delivered these same themes better elsewhere.

Set against the picturesque backdrop of France’s northern coastal region, director Michael Haneke once again delivers a poignant French drama about a stuffy bourgeois family navigating their own frivolous problems all the while ignorant of the bigger crisis unravelling around them. The city of Calais, where the Laurent family resides in their mansion, remains the closest point in continental Europe to Britain, and thus becomes the backdrop for the films underlying story of grief and turmoil experienced by these people at the migrant camps stationed their.

Haneke is undoubetly a master at showcasing the dysfunction that presides in a household and the fine string that holds manages to hold a family together in spite of it. Having taken over as the head of the family construction business from her ailing father Georges, Anne Laurent (Isabelle Huppert), finds herself in a precarious situation when her deadbeat son allows a disastrous incident to occur under his watch, meanwhile, other members of the family are keeping secrets of their own.

One resounding positive new feature used throughout the films was the incorporation of technology, and how one may use it to convey themselves in a different light. With that being said, revenge, guilt and dysfunction are all themes we’ve seen Haneke delve into before, and he has perhaps been more successful in previous works in conveying the complexities of those topics in relation to family drama while still keeping the intrigue alive.

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Simone Meier

Simone Meier is a freelance writer from Toronto. She ardently wishes she lived in a period drama, and often thinks fondly of the day she met her film husband Michael Fassbender.