A Happy Event (‘Un Heureux Événement’)

COMIC DRAMA; 1hr 47min (French with subtitles)

STARRING: Louise Bourgoin, Pio Marmaï

Maman-to-be: Marmaï and Bourgoin

First babies aren’t always the joyous bundles they’re popularly cracked up to be. Sure, every new life is a miracle and all that, but the physicality of pregnancy and the processing of a screamy little interloper can be a freaky voyage of discovery, which Barbara (Bourgoin) and Nicolas (Marmaï) recklessly undertake. She’s a PhD metaphysics student, he works in a video shop and dreams of a Tarantino-type film-making breakthrough. They’re madly in love, too, in a playful, prettily orchestrated French way, hence their “why-the-hell-not?” decision to conceive.


The birth, with director Rémi Bezançon taking his sweet time, is brutal and beautiful and baby Lea is an owlish love. Once home, however, she’s also a 24/7 wailer. Barbara is overwhelmed, and her relationship with Nico starts to crumble. Based on Éliette Abécassis’s 2005 novel, the wits’-end adjustment battles are uncompromisingly true to life. If you subscribe to the honesty as best policy theory, this warts-and-more-warts treatment could be the go. You’ll certainly walk away from it illusion-free.