Anne (Vartolomei) is a promising student in her early twenties who finds herself pregnant. It’s 1963 in France, and abortion is illegal. Anne is determined not to have the baby, but it seems every door is closed to her. A kind doctor (Rongione) tells her she should resign herself to motherhood. Desperate, she confides in close friends Brigitte (Orry-Diquero) and Helene (Bajrami), who are shocked and keep their distance. Will Anne find a solution?
Based on a fact-based novel by Annie Ermaux, “Happening” builds in intensity as Anne’s situation becomes increasingly hopeless. In a stunning lead performance, Vartolomei conveys just the right blend of fear and resolve, and we are fully invested in Anne’s lonely mission. Diwan’s inspired direction and a first-rate cast reward our full engagement, forcing us to grapple with a fundamental issue that has yet to be resolved.