An Abortion Film That’s Both Topical and Timeless

In the Sundance drama Happening, the hardest part of one woman’s unwanted pregnancy is managing everyone else’s expectations.

By Shirley Li
FEBRUARY 7, 2022

Anne Duchesne, the hero of the film Happening, is an intelligent and serious 23-year-old woman who knows what she wants. It’s 1963 in southwest France, and if her leering university classmates judge her, the daughter of a working-class family, for her literary ambitions and for hooking up with local men, so be it. Played by Anamaria Vartolomei, Anne is economical with her words and her friendships. She rarely switches up her wardrobe or hairstyle. And when she learns that she’s pregnant, she immediately asks her doctor to terminate it. “I’d like a child one day,” she says later, “but not instead of a life.”

Based on the acclaimed author Annie Ernaux’s semi-autobiographical novel, Happening follows Anne as she seeks an illegal abortion. The director, Audrey Diwan, doesn’t indulge in melodrama; she takes a measured and minimalist approach to the story, immersing the audience in Anne’s perspective.

Continued: https://www.theatlantic.com/culture/archive/2022/02/happening-film-abortion/621615/