François Ozon (Swimming Pool, In the House, Frantz) returns with a masterfully judged, humanist drama that explores an older man’s pursuit of assisted death following a stroke.
There is an unsentimental candour and understated grace to the way the film tackles its difficult subject that, through sensitive performances and directorial restraint, cumulatively achieves a deeply moving and naturalist eloquence.
The film focuses on Emmanuele – a powerful turn from Sophie Marceau (Braveheart, The World Is Not Enough) – who is the daughter that the elderly father, André Dussollier (Amelie, A Very Long Engagement, Tell No One), turns to in his moment of need.
Meanwhile his ex-wife, Claude de Sauria (Charlotte Rampling) looks on with an ebbing indifference and the other daughter, Pascale (Géraldine Pailhas), seems distant.
Trying to reconcile her father’s final wish with the legal implications, as well as mitigating the impact of André’s wayward former business partner, Gerard (Grégory Gadebois), Emmanuele is faced with an impossibly personal moral quandry…
The structural wit and tonal artistry of the film rests not only with its handling of emotional complexity, but with the way in which euthanasia is never exploited for didactic ethics.
Through subtle and insightful filmmaking, the act of assisted death becomes inextricable from the relationships of living; a final hinge around which the subtle psychology of a family is brought to life.