Happy Ending Review – Tender hearted and unexpectedly bittersweet

By Eamon Hennedy
Published: September 1, 2023
Happy Ending Review - Tender hearted and unexpectedly bittersweet


Female desire and sexuality seen through a tender-hearted and bittersweet exploration.

This review of the Netflix film Happy Ending (2023) does not contain spoilers.

At first glance, you might find yourself going into Happy Ending expecting a certain kind of film. It’s easy to look at its sex comedy genre label and have an idea of what lies in wait. Instead, Happy Ending — premiering on Netflix — is both a tender-hearted and unexpectedly bittersweet exploration of female desire and sexuality. 

There’s a version of this film that could play out in a typical fashion. What works wonders here, however, is that director Joosje Duk directs with a light touch, while also taking the central story seriously. It also helps that the film is filtered directorially and emotionally through a female lens.

Happy Ending review and plot summary

The film opens nicely on a scene that turns audience expectations on their head. From there, the following ninety minutes manage to never outstay their welcome. We follow loving couple Luna (Gaite Jensen) and Mink (Martijn Lakemeier) from their meet-cute at work, all the way to the inner workings of their relationship one year on. They are young, very attractive, but their sex life is very one-sided in that Luna has never experienced an orgasm, a fact that has gone over Mink’s head. 

After a romantic dinner, the conversation leads to the idea of the two of them having a threesome and it’s here that Eve (Joy Delima) enters the story. Both Luna and Eve make a connection during the date the three of them have, but inevitably complications ensue. Mink remains oblivious to Luna’s sexual needs and finds herself turning to Eve. 

What works magnificently about Happy Ending is how it takes its subject seriously, while also being witty about it. While any plot synopsis centers on the threesome element, it’s really a way for the film to segue into an honest and humorous look at female desire and sexual satisfaction.  

Dialogue and scenes of sexual activity are very frank, but they never feel gratuitous. Even though Luna, her friends, and the film take the situation seriously, it does so without losing sight of having fun, and yet Dose’s script and direction never flinch from some home truths about how society looks upon female and male pleasure.

Is Happy Ending good or bad?

It goes without saying that the film benefits from being female-centered. In an era when some on social media puritanically bemoan the necessity of sex scenes in film and television, Happy Ending never shies away from the act of sex or female pleasure. At the heart of the film is a lovely central performance from Gaite Jensen as Luna who manages to bring complexity to her performance while also being comedically light and fun.

The character makes decisions that will provoke discussion from viewers, but the film’s approach is never judgmental. Instead, it saves some of its anger towards the way in which society is taught that a man’s pleasure is more important than a woman’s. It makes these comments without being heavy-handed.

Is Happy Ending worth watching?

When the film takes a detour into dramatic territory in the latter stages, it does so in a well-earned manner. The stakes are heightened without tripping over the film’s gentle tone, and it ends up concluding in a lovely and unexpectedly subtle manner.

What did you think of Happy Ending? Comment below.

You can watch this film with a subscription to Netflix.

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Movie Reviews, Movies, Netflix, Streaming Service