18 years of this. Amour emotionless sequel. There's the Manneken Pis and then there's Haneke-will-piss on your expectations. He still has it. It has a bleak an ending as ever but with a more aromatic ending. Even if it is open-ended I can still see a world of hurt within those characters. what's with the "pee on my face whilst smiling"? (sounds wayy better in French).//Eve is already a Nazi. How's little Paul alive?
I admit that, for the first hour, I was wondering if there was any point; thinking that if this weren't a Haneke film starring Huppert & Trintignant, I wouldn't have heard of it. But in the end it it all comes together masterfully. In fact, it wasn't until 20 minutes before the end that I realized that this is a sequel to Amour. Which I suppose is a deliberate conceit by Haneke. From that moment on, I was mesmerized.
Digital. The bourgeois crap has no limits with this director and to be in Calais is totally senseles, after all, the refugees serve no purpose except to be worse than "backdrop", as stated in the Mubi synopsis: they are mere manipulable extras used in two supinely hypocritical scenes - it's not a compliment. The director's gaze is coincident with those of the character who opens and closes the film.
"Happy End" delivers a contemporary update on technological voyeurism, dysfunctional middle-class families, emotional detachment and similar recurring themes present on Heneke's filmography. Unfortunately the family members were so bleak that - apart from the juicy interactions between the little girl and Trintignant's patriarch - you couldn't care less about all of them. A lukewarm result, I would say.
After 'The White Ribbon' and the somewhat tender 'Amour' Haneke returns to his cold and emotionally aloof portrayals of the 'ruling class' with this poke at capitalism and social media. Expertly cast with a strong turn by Huppert and a masterful performance by Trintignant. While not at the caliber of some of his previous work this latest film from Haneke still is a worthy entry to his rich filmography.
Perhaps at the end of the day nothing pleases me more in art than command of form. I genuinely think that for the most part HAPPY END is absolutely the most exquisite and unified formal vision Haneke has given us since CODE INCONNU. The problem here, and it may well be a minor one, is that this measured film about disquiet in the realm of surfaces, engineered for estrangement, becomes in the end a too-easy joke.
A very clever expansion on the universe created with Amour. Haneke continues to disarm us with essential information the moment we look away. The performances are superb and utterly convincing in this tale of wealth, obligation and self interest. Top marks to Trintignant for the best karaoke scene this year! 4 stars
Haneke depicts the farcical implosion of an upper middle class French family whose complete lack of empathy reflects the sheer hypocrisy of Neoliberal European Union in the age of social media and massive migration. The question is: Do we care? Is there anything new? Does Happy End break new fingers, pardon, grounds?