My Happy Ending deals with one of the most difficult choices a person could ever make: to use whatever time is left to accomplish unfulfilled wishes or to try and prolong life as much as possible, albeit a life of sickness. Sadly, many people face this harsh dilemma. My Happy Ending deals with this complex question by combining drama and humor. It’s inevitable; we’re all going to die eventually, so we might as well laugh a little on our way there.
Tal Granit & Sharon Maymon, directors
My Happy Ending will make you cry… that’s a given. However, it might also frustrate you. What will frustrate you even more is that I can’t tell you why you might find it frustrating, that could spoil the film. Instead, I’ll tell you that it is a touching story that will make you think about your own mortality and how you want to die should you have the choice. The star of the film is Andie MacDowell and she is absolutely brilliant, as is the entire cast surrounding her. The film is both heartwarming and heartbreaking. I have goosebumps just writing this review and thinking about watching the movie.
This is the type of film that you need to mentally prepare for. When we watched the trailer, my wife made the comment, “I’m not sure I can watch this.” You can tell that it will be an emotional roller coaster and you need to be ready for that. This film is a great example of what makes movies so special… it has the power to put a smile on your face while breaking your heart at the same time. The emotion comes across in the dialogue, the direction, and the delivery – the script, the directors, and the cast come together to give us something great.
In the film, Julia Roth (Andie MacDowell), a Hollywood star, learns that she has cancer and must seek treatment. She wants to do so without a lot of attention and is sent to a smaller facility outside of town. Roth has all the hallmarks of a typical egotistical star and, even as a cancer patient, is quite unlikeable. Between her manager and the three women she shares a treatment room with, she is humanized. In some ways, you could say that the Ice Queen is defrosted. With each of the patients being treated (played brilliantly by Miriam Marolyes, Sally Phillips, and Rakhee Thakrar), we get moving stories and individuals that we find ourselves loving. The film has a runtime of only 89 minutes, yet, somehow, that is enough time to weave a complex story that we are completely invested it. I do not understand how it is accomplished, but it was incredible to watch. Finally, we have Tamsin Greig playing Nancy, Julia’s Manager. Greig does a fantastic job of showing us how our decisions can impact those who have been in our lives for so long. I think that is one of the more magical parts of this script, we get to see how our choices and our lives impact the lives of those we’ve just met and those that we’ve known forever.
The film plays out, over the course of a single day, inside the treatment room at the hospital. It is a very minimalist setting, but it becomes so much more and, for 89 minutes, you are in that room and these are people that you know. You smile for them and you cry for them, their wins and losses become your wins and losses. At the end of the day, as the opening quote from the directors implies, you need to decide if cancer treatment and the experiences that come with that treatment are the right choice for you, and, as we watch the film, we get to see those options weighed and considered. Do I agree with the choices made? From a cinematic and storytelling perspective, I would probably have changed things up. However, from a personal standpoint, I completely understand and respect everything that happened and wonder if I wouldn’t make the same choices in that situation. It is a good reminder that your happy ending isn’t necessarily going to be someone else’s happy ending, as sad as that may be.
This is a film that I highly recommend watching, but I do recommend having a box of tissues on hand for the tears that you are bound to shed.
My Happy Ending was released in theatres on February 24.
My Happy Ending
Movie title: My Happy Ending
Movie description: A poignant female ensemble comedy starring Andie MacDowell as a once famous actor on the verge of a comeback who finds herself in an undisclosed hospital seeking treatment for a sudden diagnosis. Hoping to remain inconspicuous, this plan is foiled when she meets three unique and remarkable women an aging rocker, a young mother, and a foreve r single retired schoolteacher (who doesn t even have a cat!). These women, who have faced adversity with humor and camaraderie, help MacDowell embody the most challenging role she has ever played herself.
Date published: 2023-02-24
Director(s): Tal Granit, Sharon Maymon
Actor(s): Andie MacDowell, Miriam Margolyes, Sally Phillips, Rakhee Thakrar, Tom Cullen, Michelle Greenidge, Tamsin Greig, David Walliams