Happy End

If Michael Haneke should die before he wakes, I pray the Lord his soul to take, along with this half-baked sequel to his magnificent Amour (2012). That film, you’ll remember, ended with elderly Georges Laurent (Jean-Louis Trintignant) smothering his miserably ill wife with a pillow. Happy End picks up with Georges nearing death’s door himself but focuses more on his middle-aged daughter (Isabelle Huppert), whose construction firm is responsible for a foundation collapse that critically injured a worker; her brother (Mathieu Kassovitz), who’s having a kinky affair with a classical musician; and the brother’s teenage daughter from his first marriage (Fantine Harduin), who opens the movie narrating cell-phone video in which she poisons her mother with an overdose of sedatives. I was impressed by the cryptic, voyeuristic long shot in which Georges’s delinquent grandson (Franz Rogowski) shows up at the front door of an apartment building and gets his ass kicked by a resident, but even that distancing device harks back to Haneke’s much superior Caché (2005). In English and subtitled French.