×
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

  • Miramax Developing 'I Won't Be Home

    Film News Roundup: Miramax Developing 'I Won't Be Home for Christmas'

    In today’s film news roundup, “I Won’t Be Home for Christmas” is in the works, the NFL has made a documentary about female team owners and D Street Pictures has signed Kenny Gage and Devon Downs to direct the dance feature “Move.” HOLIDAY PROJECT More Reviews Concert Review: Yoko Ono Earns a Wide-Ranging, All-Female Salute [...]

  • Michael B. Jordan arrives at the

    Michael B. Jordan to Star in Warner Bros.' 'Methuselah' Movie

    Michael B. Jordan will produce and star in a “Methuselah” movie for Warner Bros., based on the Biblical story of a man who lived to be 969 years old. Jordan will produce through his Outlier Society production company along with Heyday’s David Heyman and Jeffrey Clifford. More Reviews Concert Review: Yoko Ono Earns a Wide-Ranging, [...]

  • Davids Chief Piera Detassis on Revamping

    Davids Chief Piera Detassis on Revamping Italy's Top Film Awards

    Piera Detassis recently became the first woman to head the David di Donatello Awards, Italy’s equivalent of the Oscars. Since then she’s been busy overhauling the inner workings of the prizes that will be awarded on Wednesday. Detassis, also the editor of Italian film publication Ciak, spoke exclusively to Variety about the challenges she’s faced [...]

  • Matteo Garrone's 'Dogman' Leads Davids Awards

    Matteo Garrone's 'Dogman' Leads Davids Awards Race

    With 15 nominations Matteo Garrone’s “Dogman” leads the pack of contenders for Italy’s David di Donatello Awards in a watershed year for the country’s top film nods that sees highbrow auteur titles reaping most of the David love just as local box-office grosses hit an all-time low. Garrone’s gritty revenge drama is followed closely with [...]

  • steven spielberg Apple TV Plus

    Steven Spielberg's Apple Appearance Riles Up Social Media: 'Big Old Mixed Message'

    Many Hollywood heavyweights flocked to Apple’s Cupertino, Calif. headquarters to help reveal the tech giant’s revamped steaming service Apple TV+ on Monday — but one such legend was so polarizing he became a national trending topic on Twitter for simply showing his face. Steven Spielberg was the first to appear in a dramatic short film [...]

  • Michael Lynne

    Former New Line Co-Chairman Michael Lynne Dies at 77

    Michael Lynne, the former co-chairman of New Line Cinema who played a key role in shepherding “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, has died at his New York home. He was 77. Lynne’s death was confirmed Monday by longtime business partner Robert Shaye, who told Variety that Lynne’s family had informed him of Lynne’s passing [...]

  • Marisa Liston

    Sony Veteran Marisa Liston to Lead Lionsgate Movie Publicity

    Lionsgate has named Sony Pictures veteran executive Marisa Liston to lead all feature film and motion picture group publicity and communications strategy. Liston, who departed Sony in late 2018 after 17 years, has been assigned the newly created title of head of global earned media and communications. She will oversee domestic and international feature film [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content