Cast: Alicia Vikander, Eva Green, Charlotte Rampling, Charles Dance
Director: Lisa Langseth
Well, this is certainly a long time coming. Euphoria had all the makings of an Oscar contender back in 2017, but the fact that we’re just now getting on streaming services shows you how far the movie has fallen. It feels exactly like the type of movie that the Academy would love, but Langseth’s English-language debut didn’t pack quite the punch that she was looking for. While Vikander and Green are strong in their roles, Euphoria’s lack of clear direction causes the movie to suffer and its interesting premise to fall apart when it is the most important aspect to a movie like this.
The film follows Ines (Vikander) and Emilie (Green), two sisters who have been reunited and are traveling across Europe. When they make a stop in Germany, Ines learns more about her sister and the circumstances she’s facing in her life. Over the course of 104 minutes, we begin to dig into their relationship, figure out what has gone wrong during the last few years, and how to move forward on the basis of forgiveness and humanity. The main thing that keeps the movie afloat are the performances by Vikander and Green. When you reflect on how authentic the arguments and conflict between these two women are, you would think these two prolific actresses were truly estranged sisters when the cameras stopped rolling. I know Vikander has been in all of Langseth’s previously directed Swedish movies, so it makes sense that she would lend her talents as Langseth ventures into more mainstream English movies. Green isn’t quite as revered as Vikander, but if you’ve seen her in other movie and television performances you know it’s only a matter of time before she rises and gets the accolades she deserves. While the performances help keep this movie afloat, unfortunately the themes are weighed down and inconsistent due to their inability to explicitly state what the thesis of the movie is. This is a movie tied to its very heavy and emotionally draining themes, and while these topics are important and need to be covered, there has to be a reason beyond that to make a movie like this. The ideas are there and they are absolutely handled with sensitivity and grace, but they never go beyond the surface level which puts Euphoria down in the Oscar-contender dungeon. There are multiple scenes where things happen and characters make choices seemingly out of nowhere and it’s these types of baffling choices that once again undermine a premise that should work on almost every level. Maybe there’s a barrier of entry for Langseth due to her foreign background, but the general premise behind this movie works very well on paper. Considering this was a completely original script, I think it would have worked better is Langseth worked with another writer to help elevate some of the weaker moments of the script. I know Langseth was expecting better from her English-language debut, but unfortunately Euphoria wastes the talents of two magnificent actresses on a script that is flimsy and one-dimensional.
Overall, Euphoria is an example of a script that may work better as a book rather than a film and that even some of the best in their craft have duds along the way. I’m sure everyone involved will bounce back in future projects, but I’m certain they were all looking for something more out of this movie. Vikander owes much of the beginning of her career to Langseth and while she did her best to return the favor, Euphoria will most certainly be remembered as the film that got away.
Overall Score: 3/10