Review by Camden Ferrell
Tal Granit and Sharon Maymon are an Israeli directing duo that has previously made films such as The Farewell and Flawless. Their newest movie together is My Happy Ending, based on a play from late Israeli playwright Anat Gov. This is a movie about a serious issue many people face that can pack an emotional punch when it needs to but can often find itself missing on its comedic beats throughout.
Julia is a once-famous actress on the verge of a comeback. However, one day she finds herself at a nondescript hospital, seeking treatment due to her recent cancer diagnosis. Despite attempts to stay incognito, she meets a group of women who are all battling cancer together. With friendship, humor, and perseverance, these women come together over the course of one day to help Julia come to terms with her diagnosis and what to do next. This is an interesting premise that has the potential to speak to a lot of viewers while also delivering on some earned emotional moments throughout.
This is written by Rona Tamir, and it’s a noble attempt even if it isn’t great. This is her first feature screenplay, and that definitely shows at certain points in the movie. There are moments where the dialogue and flow of certain conversations can feel out of place with the structure of the 90 minute movie. Despite its flaws, there are still some great things happening with the writing and this is mostly shown in conjunction with the performances of the lead actresses.
Andie MacDowell leads this movie as Julia, and she gives a solid if forgettable performance. She does what is asked and nothing more, but for a movie like this, that’s all that an actress really needs to do. She doesn’t go above and beyond, but that is commensurate with everything else happening on screen. The movie has other decent performances from the likes of Sally Phillips and Rakhee Thakrar, but if anyone is the highlight, it’s Miriam Margoyles. She brings an adorable charm that can only come from someone of her age and experience and her moments throughout are the most delightful.
It's difficult to properly execute a comedic film dealing with a grave illness like cancer, and I want to say this movie gave its all. The directors are able to pull off surprisingly emotional moments, but the movie starts to show its weaknesses when it has to balance the comedy with those moments because it doesn’t always land as intended. Nothing in this movie was particularly bad, but it seems as if most people working on this movie were just operating a decent but not great level throughout.
My Happy Ending might be a cute escape for 90 minutes, and it might genuinely be helpful to those going through similar issues. It has its charms, and it certainly has a target demographic that will enjoy it more than others, but I’m afraid there isn’t much in this movie to make it memorable. It’s harmless, but it’s not something that will persist with me very long.
My Happy Ending is in theaters February 24.