“The Happy End” road trips its way through life, love and letting go

In the charming German film The Happy End, Lucca is a buttoned up aspiring law student going through an existential crisis. Feeling directionless and lonely, she wanders into a spot of trouble and finds herself doing community service at a hospice. It is there that she meets 30-something, free-spirited rocker Valerie.

Valerie, who sings emo-ish songs at the lesbian spot Sis Bar, spends a lot of time at the hospice, visiting her dear friend Herma. When Herma passes away, and her brutish son comes to collect her ashes, Valerie enlists Lucca to fulfill Herma’s wishes of being laid to rest at her favorite place. This involves kidnapping Herma’s ashes and running from the law.

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There’s nothing like a road trip to form (or break) a bond with another person. As Lucca and Valerie talk and drive, confess secrets and dreams, the chemistry between them becomes undeniable. Lucca, who is somewhat sheltered and has a loving but overbearing father, starts to loosen up and come into her own in Valerie’s company.

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The Happy End has a lot going for itin particular, two very likelable leads. Sinha Gierke (a dead ringer for Dianna Agron), who plays Lucca, has the kind of face that draws you in not simply because of its beauty, but the way it tells a story. 

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Verena Wustkamp plays Valerie with a playful edge, all the while keeping the demons that haunt her just below the surface. 

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The drive through the German countryside is breathtaking, and the use of natural light is particularly beautiful. The film makes us ask ourselves, what makes a happy ending? Is it true love? Following your heart instead of the rules? Driving off into the sunset, and into the unknown? 

You can find out for yourself because The Happy End is now available on DVD and digital rental or purchase at Wolfe Video.