Generally favorable reviews based on 29 Critics
Even admitting that films like Cache (Hidden), The White Ribbon and Amour have raised the bar higher and higher, Happy End feels like it’s pulling its punches and not in their league. For one thing, it’s hard to pin down the theme of the piece.
Haneke’s magisterial control of tone, actor and shot is not to be underestimated: there are scenes of quiet, nuanced authority and menace here that, true to form, compel our attention with their glacial brilliance.
This repetition of old themes might suggest a filmmaker out of ideas. I’d argue the opposite: Happy End is a movie that’s fully alive, no matter how chilly it is. And its calm is a kind of rage, methodically cataloging the crimes and misdemeanors of a family that’s seemingly above consequence.