EUPHORIA: 1 ½ STARS. “the fake solemnity favored by undertakers.”
Unsurprisingly “Euphoria,” the new end of life drama starring Alicia Vikander and Eva Green and now on VOD, is a rather lifeless affair.
Not to be confused with the Zendaya television series of the same name, which positively sparkles with energy, this dreary story sees estranged sisters Emilie (Green) Ines (Vikander) looking grim for the entirety of the movie’s ninety-five-minute run time. In fact, using the title “Euphoria” on this movie may be the most ironic thing to happen in 2020, and that is saying something.
The “action” centers around the euthanasia clinic run by Marina (Charlotte Rampling), where Emilie, in the late stages of cancer, has chosen to end her life. Lush and lavish, the facility is essentially a five-star hotel, where rich people curate their deaths much the way Influencers curate their lives on Instagram. Bands are hired to play at the going away party for one resident (Charles Dance) who wants to dance his life away while others choose less ostentatious but equally expensive exits.
It soon becomes clear the sisters have little in common except shared DNA. The two attempt a reconciliation but a decade old slight—Ines took off to travel the world after their parent’s divorce, leaving Emilie to pick up the pieces of their mother’s shattered life—has left a deep wound. The argue and throw food at one another before embracing the inevitable, the tolling of the bell (literally a bell rings at a guest’s time of death) for Emile.
It’s a pity “Euphoria” isn’t a better movie. Director Lisa Langseth fills the screen with interesting images and, in Ines and Emile, has two characters ripe with possibility. She’s chosen a serious subject to explore, and has good actors but they are forced to chatter their way through difficult situations while never showing us anything new or interesting.
Assisted death is an issue ripe for drama and yet the movie sidesteps every opportunity for depth with the kind of fake solemnity favored by undertakers.