The latest film from the prolific French director François Ozon, “Everything Went Fine” is a drama about assisted suicide that wears tragedy lightly. Understated almost to a fault, the film pitches its tone somewhere among the looming sorrow, gentle comedy and bureaucratic tedium that death, especially when planned, can entail. If the result is bracingly unsentimental, it’s also a touch inert — a little too poised to compel emotionally.
Adapted from a 2013 memoir by the French writer Emmanuèle Bernheim, “Everything Went Fine” traces the resentments and fears that unfurl around Emmanuèle (Sophie Marceau) when her 80-something father, André (André Dussollier), asks her to help him end his life after he’s partially paralyzed by a stroke. She finds herself caught amid competing responsibilities: to a father who was often cruel to her, as we see in flashbacks; to her mother (Charlotte Rampling), sick herself and seemingly indifferent to her estranged husband’s plight; to a man from André’s past whose fraught relationship with the patriarch emerges in a late revelation; and, above all, to herself.
The caprices of the characters pose repeated threats to Emmanuèle and André’s heist-like plan of getting him to Switzerland, where medically assisted death is legal. Dussollier is formidable, vacillating between desperation and entitlement, but there’s a repressed quality to the movie — and to Marceau’s performance — that mutes the emotions, sanding down conflicts to pat exchanges. Where “Everything Went Fine” opens up into thornier (and richer) territory is in the practical intricacies of euthanasia. When Emmanuèle tells André that the entire process will cost him 10,000 euros, he asks, glibly, “I wonder how poor people do it?”
“They wait to die,” she coolly replies.
Everything Went Fine
Not rated. In French, with subtitles. Running time: 1 hour 53 minutes. In theaters.