A Happy Event
As in Rémi Bezançon’s sprawling The First Day of the Rest of Your Life (2008), which maps the bittersweet human condition through five fateful days in the lives of a suburban family, A Happy Event again demonstrates the French director’s expertise in condensing the sweetest and sourest bits of parenthood into one humorously poignant dramedy. Like a fairy tale that reaches its happy ending all too quickly, PhD candidate Barbara (Louise Bourgoin) immediately falls madly in love – and wants a baby – upon meeting video store clerk Nicholas (Pio Marmaï), before the two gradually drift apart while struggling to cope with the drastic changes that the newborn brings about.
A wonderfully observed adaptation of bestselling author Eliette Abecassis’ 2005 autobiographical novel, the film has cuteness to spare in its early goings, capturing the passionate affair between its two leads like a perfect rom-com, while also providing many laugh-out-loud moments surrounding Barbara’s pregnancy hormones (“I want to get gang banged!” she declares in a crowded restaurant). This is, however, before the baby blues eventually settle down a few months later, leaving the unready couple’s fading relationship nowhere left to go as a story. A Happy Event is as charming as it comes as a comedy but – surely ironic for a movie with a philosophy grad student as its protagonist – feels hopelessly immature when it attempts to be philosophical about it all.
Dir Rémi Bezançon, Category III, 107 mins, opens on Jan 19