When businessman André Bernheim (André Dussollier) has a stroke, his daughter Emmanuèle (Sophie Marceau) comes to his aid. However, her discovery that he wants to die via euthanasia in Switzerland, due to its illegality in France, places her in a moral quandary. This isn’t helped by her struggles in getting her sister Pascale (Géraldine Pailhas) and mother (Charlotte Rampling) on board the idea. In addition, André’s initial decision is complicated by his improving physical condition and his indecisive nature.

Renowned director Ozon uses André’s stroke and willingness to die to illustrate the issue of euthanasia, both its legality and impact on not only the patient but their family. He details the effect this has on Emmanuèle and Pascale, with the former having to bear the brunt of her father’s struggles, from failing health, to trying to fulfil his request whilst also dealing with his estranged lover and cousin from America. Interspersed are flashbacks showing the distant relationship between Andre and Emmanuèle when the latter was a child.

It would be hard to find any comedy in this mixture of narrative strands, yet Ozon manages to do so without sacrificing any of the dramatic potential of the overall situation. This becomes particularly apparent during the film’s second half, where André’s delaying of his trip to Switzerland and the sisters’ attempt to deceive the authorities in order to get him across the border are played for comedic effect. However, this doesn’t detract in any way from the drama, which is in part due to the performances of the cast, in particular Marceau and Dussollier.

Marceau effectively embodies Emmanuèle’s frustration at trying to fulfil her father’s request with its attached legal restrictions alongside trying to get her mother and Pascale involved in the process. She also skillfully conveys the emotional impact André’s condition and decision has on Emmanuèle during these proceedings, with the final scenes allowing Marceau to impress in showing the culmination of her feelings.

Dussollier also provides an impressive physical performance in his replication of the physically disabling effect of André’s stroke through contortions of his face and body. However, it is his conveyance of André’s mercurial personality that leaves the greatest impact, with Dussollier managing to balance the character’s depression as his health fails with his sense of humour and indecisive nature, making the character three-dimensional and not simply a suffering victim.

Everything Went Fine works as both a drama about the moral dilemma of euthanasia as well as the difficulties of saying goodbye to a loved one that benefits from assured direction and lead performances.

Screening @Filmhouse, Edinburgh until Thu 23 Jun 2022