Happily Ever After

on May 28, 1993 by Tim Cogshell
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Writer/director Yvan Attal ("The Intrepreter") is also the husband of actress Charlotte Gainsbourg, a fact anyone who's seen Attal's 2001 film "My Wife is an Actress" would already know. In Attal's new film, "Happily Ever After," he and Gainsbourg again play husband and wife under Attal's direction. The result is again intriguing. Three men are at the center of the drama; they're all dissatisfied with their lives. Vincent (Attal) is married with a cute kid, and though he and Gabrielle (Gainsbourg) try to spice up their lives with little role-playing, there is still something missing. They both fantasize; Vincent does more. George (Alain Chabat) and Nathalie (Emmanuelle Seigner) are more overt in their dissatisfactions and just scream at and insult each other. Single Fred (Alain Cohen) has sex with different women every night, yet complains of having no one to go home to.

At first glance, "Happily Ever After" looks like a drama about men going through mid-life crisis and the stupid things they do. But it's a good deal more savvy than that. "Happily Ever After" is actually a comedy about humans in crisis -- men and women, husbands and wives -- in the flux of life, dissatisfied and yearning for just about anything other than what they have, yet not really wanting to change anything. Which, of course, is how these situations work in the real world. The movie is a delightfully real accounting of the sort of malaise that affects most humans and its maddening effects -- infidelity, bad haircuts and the like -- all handled from a very French perspective, which is to say, with great sophistication and unexpected outcomes. Starring Charlotte Gainsbourg, Yvan Attal, Alain Chabat, Emmanuelle Seigner and Alain Cohen. Directed and written by Yvan Attal. Produced by Claude Berri. A Kino release. Comedy/Drama. French-language; subtitled. Unrated. Running time: 100 min

Tags: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Yvan Attal, Alain Chabat, Emmanuelle Seigner, Alain Cohen, Claude Berri, A Kino release, Comedy/Drama, mid-life, crisis, humans, savvvy, dissatisfactions
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