Goodbye Happiness | Au revoir le bonheur (2023)

January 12th, 2023
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Ken Scott | Cast: Francois Arnaud, Antoine Bertrand, Louis Morisette, Patrice Robitaille, Julie LeBreton, Charlotte Aubin | France/Canada Comedy Drama 107′

Serious themes are given the simplistic treatment in this lightweight comedy that bobs along pointlessly in Canada’s Ken Scott one-note direction.

When their father dies, four adult brothers return to their childhood home in Canada’s picturesque Magdalen Islands, only to discover the housekeeper has turned it into a fully occupied b&b. But much worse is to follow at the reading of the Will, forcing the men – and their families – to completely reassess the future.

Unfortunately, there’s nothing authentic in about any of these main characters who are merely cyphers representing their individual personality flaws: Nicolas (Arnaud) is unfaithfulness personified: we see him mindlessly bonking Camille (Aubin) in the opening scenes, and then inviting her to join the trip. “With your family?” she splutters, incredulous, and soon fades into the background. Charles-Alexandre (Morisette) is greed personified, a bland financier who spends the film working out how to extract his inheritance. Then there is William, a writer unable to string two words together for a new novel. But perhaps the saddest of the foursome is Thomas (Bertrand), an overweight loser who cannot move on from the past and spends the whole time whingeing. The performances here are as flaccid as the various subplots that fail to resolve convincingly in a mawkish scenario held together by saccharine interludes picturing this happy extended family romping around the countryside never disagreeing despite justifiable reasons to do so considering the tragic issues that confront them. This is just abnormal, even comedy needs tonal nuance.

By the end we are supposed to feel happy and relieved for them but we really couldn’t care less. The only saving grace in this comedy without any laughs is Norayr Kasper’s stunning photography that puts this gorgeous part of Canada on the screen for all to enjoy. MT



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