×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Toronto Film Review: ‘Euphoria’

Two estranged sisters with beaucoup unresolved issues meet for a European holiday in Swedish writer-director Lisa Langseth’s inauspicious English-language debut.

Director:
Lisa Langseth
With:
Alicia Vikander, Eva Green, Charlotte Rampling, Charles Dance, Mark Stanley, Adrian Lester. (English dialogue)

Official Site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5698320/

Two estranged sisters with beaucoup unresolved issues meet for a European holiday in Swedish writer-director Lisa Langseth’s inauspicious English-language feature “Euphoria.” The first production out of star Alicia Vikander’s Vikarious Film stable, this oh-so-serious, hysteria-tinged drama, which is impossible to write about without spoilers, plays as if it might have come from Yorgos Lanthimos’ bin of discarded ideas. A prestige cast including Eva Green, Charlotte Rampling and Charles Dance will entice distributors to take a look, but the post-screening take-away is definitely not happiness or excitement, but rather something that could be described by other “e” words — such as excruciating and embarrassing.

After planning a mysterious luxury jaunt, Emilie (Eva Green) effuses happiness that her long out-of-touch younger sis Ines (Vikander), a successful artist now suffering some negative reviews, has agreed to join her. Meanwhile, Ines remains skeptical and stand-offish, wondering how her drama queen sibling can afford such excess. But given that the surprise destination turns out to be a high-end euthanasia clinic in the remote countryside, accessible only by helicopter or hours of driving, terminally-ill Emilie needs only to afford six days before she literally and figuratively checks out.

Ines, who was looking forward to massages and peaceful country walks, is not well-pleased to be hearing about her sister’s illness in this manner and is repelled by the clinic’s concept, which includes personal companions who gravely look after the clients’ every wish, a social-media consultant able to plant information on the internet that will make them look like better people after death, and a solemn tolling of bells that presages the time for each guest to drink the draught of eternal sleep. Moreover, despite the best efforts of Emilie’s companion Marina (Charlotte Rampling, as serene as an automaton), she’s definitely not in the mood to rehash their childhood, particularly the sad period after their father left home and their mother turned into a dysfunctional, suicidal mess.

When the siblings aren’t quarreling or tentatively bonding (if that is what you can call the awkward scenes in which Emilie forces Ines to recount intimate details of her sex life and the banal things she plans to do after Emilie’s, er, departure), there’s time to introduce a few other guests. These include Mr. Daren (Charles Dance), a cynical brain-tumor sufferer, whose loud, vulgar farewell party contravenes every aspect of the peace and quiet that the other guests are paying for, and Brian (Mark Stanley), a paraplegic former pro-soccer player whose death wish is extinguished by a night with Emilie.

After Langseth’s debut feature, the realist drama “Pure,” which gave Vikander one of her first big-screen roles, the two worked together again in “Hotell,” an oddball drama about an unconventional therapy group. There, Langseth explored some taboo subjects, but she did it in a playful manner that engendered real release. But even if audiences find themselves able to remain in their seats until the end of “Euphoria” (men, especially, fled the TIFF press and industry screening in droves), the catharsis feels fake and unearned. Moreover, the film lacks the warmth and respect for all of of its characters displayed in Langseth’s previous work.

The visually undistinguished lensing by Rob Hardy, who shot the Vikander-starrer “Ex Machina” doesn’t help matters, nor does the stolid cutting by Dino Jonsäter. In a film that could use some sly humor, the only thing that comes across as mildly amusing, apart from the use of David Bowie’s “Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide,” are the faux-Thai, massage-parlor-esque outfits worn by most of the clinic’s staff. The unattractive leisurewear sported by Vikander and Green throughout is not a good look. For the record, the film title comes from a Swedish poem by Gunnar Ekelöf recited during a would-be purgative evening on the clinic lawn.

Toronto Film Review: 'Euphoria'

Reviewed at Toronto Film Festival (Platform), Sept. 9, 2017. Running time: 98 MIN.

Production: (Sweden – Germany) A B-Reel Films, Vikarious Film, Dancing Camel Films production. (International Sales: Great Point Media, London.) Produced by Alicia Vikander, Patrik Andersson, Frida Bargo, Charles Collier. Executive producers, Fredrik Heinig, Jim Reeve. Co-producer, Christine Ruppert.

Crew: Director, writer: Lisa Langseth. Camera (color, HD): Rob Hardy. Editor: Dino Jonsäter. Music: Lisa Holmqvist.  

With: Alicia Vikander, Eva Green, Charlotte Rampling, Charles Dance, Mark Stanley, Adrian Lester. (English dialogue)

More Film

  • Mindy Kaling photographed by Victoria Stevens

    Mindy Kaling Created Her Own Opportunities (and Doesn't Plan on Stopping)

    Over the course of two hit sitcoms, a couple of best-selling books and some scene-stealing turns in Hollywood blockbusters such as “Ocean’s 8” and “Inside Out,” Mindy Kaling has cultivated an image as a kinder, gentler and more relatable star than most. On Instagram or Twitter, where she routinely shares parenting anecdotes and restaurant recommendations, [...]

  • Jimi Hendrix sound check Monterey Pop

    Film Constellation Adds ‘Show Me the Picture’ to Berlin Market Slate (EXCLUSIVE)

    London-based sales and financing house Film Constellation has added Alfred George Bailey’s feature documentary “Show Me the Picture: The Story of Jim Marshall” to its Berlin market slate, ahead of the film’s SXSW premiere. Submarine Entertainment is handling distribution in North America. The film charts the life of American photographer James Joseph Marshall, whose work [...]

  • 'Sink or Swim,' 'Custody' Lead Race

    'Sink or Swim,' 'Custody' Lead Race for France's Cesar Awards

    French actor-turned-director Gilles Lellouche’s “Sink or Swim” and Xavier Legrand’s feature debut “Custody” lead the race for this year’s Cesar Awards, France’s equivalent of the Oscars, with 10 nominations each, including best picture and best director. “Sink or Swim” (“Le Grand Bain” in France), a star-driven dramedy about a men’s synchronized swimming team, world-premiered at [...]

  • Face to Face with German Films

    Face to Face with German Films Unveils the Six ‘Faces’ of 2019 (EXCLUSIVE)

    Teutonic promotional organization German Films has announced that its annual initiative supporting German filmmaking internationally, Face to Face With German Films, will focus on actors and actresses as the campaign enters its fourth year. Six of Germany’s leading thesps – Maria Dragus, Christian Friedel, Luise Heyer, Jonas Nay, Jördis Triebel and Fahri Yardim – will [...]

  • (L to R) VIGGO MORTENSEN and

    'Green Book' Lands Post-Oscars Theatrical Release in China

    Fresh off of Tuesday’s news that it had picked up five Academy Award nominations, best-picture nominee “Green Book” is set for more good luck. The film will hit Chinese theaters on March 1, the first weekend after the Oscars, which fall on Feb 24, Alibaba Pictures announced on its official social media account. The film [...]

  • Fan Bingbing

    Chinese Stars, Entertainment Companies Pay $1.7 Billion in Back Taxes

    Chinese film and TV stars and entertainment companies have forked over an additional $1.7 billion (RMB11.7 billion) in taxes in the wake of last summer’s scandal surrounding actress Fan Bingbing and a subsequent government crackdown. The figure was announced late Tuesday by China’s State Tax Administration. Chinese authorities launched a probe into the tax affairs [...]

  • Yalitza Aparicio as Cleo, Marco Graf

    Film News Roundup: AMC, Regal to Leave 'Roma' Out of Best Picture Showcases

    In today’s film news roundup, “Roma” will not be in the best picture showcases at AMC and Regal, “Jimi Hendrix: Electric Church” gets a release and SAG-AFTRA’s David White has a new appointment. ‘ROMA’ SPURNED More Reviews Concert Review: Lady Gaga Outdoes Her Other Vegas Show With Masterful 'Jazz & Piano' TV Review: 'Russian Doll' [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content