As in Rémi Bezançon’s sprawling The First Day of the Rest of Your Life (2008), which maps the bittersweet human condition through five fateful days in the lives of a suburban family, A Happy Event again demonstrates the French director’s expertise in condensing the sweetest and sourest bits of parenthood into one humorously poignant dramedy. Like a fairy tale that reaches its happy ending all too quickly, PhD candidate Barbara (Louise Bourgoin) immediately falls madly in love – and wants a baby – upon meeting video store clerk Nicholas (Pio Marmaï), before the two gradually drift apart while struggling to cope with the drastic changes that the newborn brings about.
A wonderfully observed adaptation of bestselling author Eliette Abecassis’ 2005 autobiographical novel, the film has cuteness to spare in its early goings, capturing the passionate affair between its two leads like a perfect rom-com, while also providing many laugh-out-loud moments surrounding Barbara’s pregnancy hormones (“I want to get gang banged!” she declares in a crowded restaurant). This is, however, before the baby blues eventually settle down a few months later, leaving the unready couple’s fading relationship nowhere left to go as a story. A Happy Event is as charming as it comes as a comedy but – surely ironic for a movie with a philosophy grad student as its protagonist – feels hopelessly immature when it attempts to be philosophical about it all.