“Goodbye happiness”: alone in the world

Why would you go see a movie about mourning as the holidays approach and the explosive American productions invade our screens? Because it is heartwarming to recognize yourself in the dramas big and small of ordinary people rather than projecting yourself as a superhero or a dark villain. Even when the film is running, it is unlikely to leave you with lasting memories. At the most, it will give you a good time by allowing you to leave your worries in the cloakroom. This promise, Goodbye happiness, Ken Scott’s sixth feature film, fulfills it wonderfully.

Of course, the main plot will not keep you in suspense, no turnaround will make you fall from your chair, but from the outset you will become attached to the Lambert brothers. And, above all, you will have the pleasure of reconnecting with the screenwriter of The great seduction and director of Starbuck, which, busy outside revisiting its successes for different markets, was sorely lacking in our cinematographic landscape. Because of the authors who master the codes of comedy with sensitivity, there are not many in Quebec.

Shortly after the funeral of their father (Pierre-Yves Cardinal), the businessman Charles-Alexandre (Louis Morissette), the author William (Patrice Robitaille), the nostalgic Thomas (Antoine Bertrand) and the epicurean Nicolas ( François Arnaud) set off for the Magdalen Islands to disperse the ashes of the deceased loved one. Barely arrived at the imposing family home where they spent their summer vacation, they understand that they are not welcome there since Liliane (Julie Le Breton), faithful caretaker of the house, has rented their rooms to tourists. Worse still, the latter could well inherit the vast residence. To add to their misfortunes, Nicolas lost his suitcase, which contained the urn. The too discreet companions and the turbulent children complete the picture.

Additional accomplices

Crossed by tender flashbacks to their childhood, where Ken Scott effectively establishes the dynamic between the brothers and where their late mother (Geneviève Boivin-Roussy) appears, Goodbye happiness turns out to be a bittersweet celebration of the sense of family. If the Lambert’s are not the type to embrace and say that they love each other, behind the teasing, the reproaches and the truths that are not always good to say, express an unshakeable bond, unfailing fraternal bonds and unconditional love.

While the flamboyant character of François Arnaud gives the film all its tone, that of Patrice Robitaille, while interior and accompanied by a sweet leitmotif on the piano of Nicolas Errèra, imposes its melancholy dimension. The quiet strength of the reasonable elder brother encamped by Louis Morissette is opposed to the skin-deep emotions of the third brother, who believes himself unloved, embodied by Antoine Bertrand. Moreover, of the four, Thomas often seems to be the only one to suffer from the death of the father. Without the multiple appearances of the suitcase delivery man (Éric Paulhus), we would forget thatGoodbye happiness features a bereaved family. No doubt they are not at the same stage of mourning. Or Ken Scott has made sure that the whole thing does not sink into the melodrama.

While spat and reconciliations are linked without downtime thanks to the editing of Yvann Thibaudeau, the director highlights the actors and takes advantage of their palpable bond. During the interior scenes, Scott creates a happy mess in this house that seems both too big and too narrow for this tightly knitted clan despite the rivalries.

In the outdoor scenes, where Norayr Kasper’s photo highlights the masterful autumnal beauty of the islands, the director adds a timeless dimension to the story by allowing the brothers to relapse into childhood in the beloved backdrop of their youth.

Just selected in official competition at 25e Alpe d’Huez comedy festival, Goodbye happiness is a unifying film that feels good.

Goodbye happiness


Comedy-drama by Ken Scott. With Louis Morissette, Patrice Robitaille, Antoine Bertrand, François Arnaud, Julie Le Breton, Pierre-Yves Cardinal, Geneviève Boivin-Roussy and Éric Paulhus. Canada (Quebec), 2021, 107 minutes. Indoors.

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