Mr. Towelhead feels really sad so he needs to review Happiness. All images are copyright of Killer Films (studio) and Good Machine (Distributor) and used for educational purposes only, to teach you a lesson about sadness! I mean, Happiness. And yes, by the way Jon Arbuckle is copyright of Jim Davis. Muahahahahaha
Happiness was released in 1998 and the movie was written and directed by Todd Solondz. Its marketed as a comedy-drama. And yes its drama. Rather than being comedy, its funny because of the drama. If there is a proper use for the term “dark” movie, Happiness has earned it. And you may think that’s sarcastic for a film called Happiness. Well, that’s exactly what this film’s experience will be. I have only seen a few Woody Allen movies, so I can only guess that Happiness is “Woody Allen-ish”.
The basic idea behind Happiness is to please you through the, comical, missery of life. If thrives on the realistic depiction of how dumb and miserable we are no matter how rich or poor we are, nor how successful or losers we are. Its visual style is appealing while showing you funny situations born from the sadness of the characters in the movie, and also showing/hinting at situations that are horrible realities of the world we live in.
The story follows, mainly, three sisters, each with their own set of family, money and success… ratios, so to speak. It basically follows how each struggles to be happy (and better than the other). The story follows other characters on occasions but mainly the ones related to the three sisters. In a nutshell you could say that appearances can be deceiving, but life is always sad :D
Even on a date life is sad :P
I shouldn’t say more, since the story per se, is the best part of the Happiness experience. However be warned, that you if you don’t like to laugh at the expenses of others (be it in film form), you probably won’t like Happiness. Also, some of the topics handled are disgustingly crude/offensive and flat out to your face. There is no gruesome graphic content, but its explicit enough.
Some of the situations will make you laugh, then again, because they are all so realistic, some of them may hit you right where it hurts. And depress you for weeks. So be warned as the movie dives into several different forms of sadness.
The film is tense as hell. Even though many parts are meant to make you laugh, others are so SERIOUS it’ll make you feel uncomfortable in your seat.
Happiness is a “heavy” experience. You have to be willing to watch it, or at the very least have no clue what you are getting yourself into. However, there are goods in it. The service it does to humanity, at the end of the day is: To make you feel better. You know how Jon from the Garfield comic strip makes you feel better because you are smarter than him. Well there you go. Happiness will make you laugh, put a knot in your stomach and finally give you a self-esteem boost.
It doesn’t get any lower than low
Yes it does :D
If you can handle nasty themes that many will consider offensive, Happiness is o.k. for you. And, by the way, the movie does not promote any kind of naughty behavior, it simply exposes them.
Mr. Towelhead is indecisive. But the overall experience, once you know what you are getting yourself into is pleasing in a very selfish way.
8 / 10
If you like drama and sarcasm you will LOVE it.
If you like tense, heavy, involving movies you will LOVE it.
If you are a casual movie goer who likes action/adventure clichés, you will probably try to kill yourself afterwards.
P.D. There is a sequel to the movie called Life during Wartime, and its a “direct” sequel with same characters but different actors. It didn’t like it at all, mainly because I got SO involved with the former cast that I couldn’t simply accept another face for the same character. The sequel also tries to imitate the first movie in several settings and scenes, and goes completely in another direction for other scenes. I believe that, if Life during Wartime would have been, EXACTLY THE SAME MOVIE AS IT WAS, but with different names (thus different characters) it would have been a unique sad story with familiar elements from a spiritual prequel :D