Film Review: HAPPENING: An unyielding and well-acted look at a delicate subject [Sundance 2022]

Film Review: HAPPENING: An unyielding and well-acted look at a delicate subject [Sundance 2022]

Examination in progress

Event (2021) Movie Review from 44th Annual sun dance Movie Festivala movie directed by Audrey Diwan and featuring Ana Maria Vartolomei, Kacey Mottet Klein, Luna Bajrami, Louisa Orry Diquero, Louisa Chevillotte, pio Marmai, Sandrine Bonnaire, Leonor oberson, Anne Mouglalis, Magdalene Baudot, Alice of Lencquesaing and Fabrice Rongione.

Set in the early 1960s, the new French film, Event, is an authentic and chilling look at a young woman who becomes pregnant at a time when abortion was illegal. Directed by Audrey Diwan, this new film is very detailed and precise in the way it depicts the confusion its main character faces when she is forced to come to terms with the fact that she has conceived a child she does not want. not keep. Anamaria Vartolomei delivers a powerful performance as Anne Duchesne, the film’s 23-year-old lead character. If we weren’t related to her, the whole center of the film would crumble. It’s to Diwan’s credit that audiences are not only able to sympathize with Anne’s predicament, but viewers are also able to understand that something like this could happen to anyone. It’s Vartolomei’s humanity as Anne that keeps us watching her as we wonder how this situation will work out over the course of the film. It’s not an easy movie to watch but it’s worth the investment.


Anne is a smart and talented literature student who got pregnant from her interaction with a political science student who definitely won’t take the news very well. She doesn’t want to have the baby because she doesn’t want to give her life and also because she would resent her if she kept it. However, due to strict abortion laws, she cannot legally get the help she needs to have an abortion. At a few moments, she takes matters into her own hands, which includes a gruesome scene to watch that’s unsettling in its excesses.

We see that Anne is particularly gifted in her studies in class at the beginning of the film. Her teacher (Pio Marmai) is particularly proud of the way she answers his difficult questions. Later in the film, however, as Anne struggles with her unwanted pregnancy, her grades decline and the maintenance of her academic potential remains questionable. Her acquaintances also harass her in the showers, and life becomes very difficult for Anne as the film progresses.

There are a number of standout scenes throughout the film that are bold and true to life. One such sequence is when a male friend of Anne’s tries to get her to sleep with him partly because she can no longer get pregnant. This young man does not understand or care about Anne’s personal dilemma and it is heartbreaking to see Anne deal with this guy. Vartolomei plays this scene absolutely perfectly. There is also a performance by Louise Orry-Diquero which is quite strong. She plays Brigitte, one of Anne’s friends, who shows her buddies how she achieves sexual satisfaction in a very intriguing scene.

Event is particularly well done. She shines in scenes where she shows how isolated and alone Anne feels throughout her journey. His descent into depression is expertly conveyed with Diwan’s direction always thoughtful and respectful of its main character and the audience. Anne’s loss of innocence is also another subject the film addresses as it shows how her naivety led to her predicament.

Other cast members who are effective include Fabrizio Rongione as the doctor who can’t seem to offer Anne any easy solutions to her dilemma. As Anne’s mother, Sandrine Bonnaire is also pretty good here and this character helps us understand why Anne is afraid of losing everything she worked so hard for. Bonnaire perfectly captures the concerns of the mother.

Event is a very good movie but I found it had a few flaws. One of the flaws is that the majority of the men depicted seem totally unsympathetic to Anne’s situation, which rings false at certain points in the image. Even though abortion was illegal at the time, we love Anne’s character so much that one viewer would think others would love her too, but the young men depicted here are mostly deadbeats who don’t care. interested only in themselves. Another problem is the film’s overreliance on people (male or female) who don’t care about the main character. We could have used a little more heart in this movie from the supporting actors. Only Marmai as a teacher really stands out as a less understanding male character, even if he really can’t do anything to help given his role as a teacher. In the end there is some redemption to be found but it may be too little too late.

Always, Event is a film that must be seen. It captures the essence of the period in which it is set and Vartolomei turns into a performance full of varied emotions, including extreme sensitivity. We want to see Anne overcome her inability to move forward in her life and truly find some kind of happiness. Whether she finds it or not, it’s a whole different movie.

Evaluation: 8/ten

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Jessica C. Bell