Metascore
81

Universal acclaim - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 30
  2. Negative: 0 out of 30
  1. 100
    Weaving many interconnected plot lines and more than a dozen lives together, this gifted writer-director has fashioned a bleak, brilliant comedy about loneliness, lovelessness, and alienation--a film that constantly upends our assumptions about what is heartbreaking, what is hilarious, and what is both.
  2. 100
    It is not a film for most people. It is certainly for adults only. But it shows Todd Solondz as a filmmaker who deserves attention, who hears the unhappiness in the air and seeks its sources.
  3. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    88
    One of the most challenging movies in years.
  4. 88
    Where Happiness shines, however, is in the series of extraordinary performances given by the members of the diverse ensemble cast. Leading the group is Dylan Baker, whose turn as Bill is astounding.
  5. Reviewed by: Ron Wells
    100
    Take the safety off of the comedy Magnum called Happiness and put the barrel in your mouth. You'll laugh your ass off as it takes off the back of your head...It could be the best film of the year. At the very least, I'll never forget it.
  6. Corrosively funny yet emotionally devastating.
  7. Like David Lynch, Quentin Tarantino, and Paul Thomas Anderson, Solondz revels in ironic pop passion. It's a signature moment when he transforms Air Supply's "All Out of Love" into a geek-love rhapsody.
  8. Reviewed by: Jonathan Lethem
    100
    A masterpiece.
  9. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    100
    Unnerving because it forces us into uncharted waters: Solondz doesn't tell us how to feel but makes us thrash out our responses for ourselves. In doing so, he has made one of the few indelible movies of the year.
  10. Reviewed by: David Denby
    90
    A brilliant, disturbing, but unstable and half-crazy piece of work.
  11. 90
    Thoroughly realized characters and relationships and Solondz's masterful ability to switch the tone from comic to tragic within the same scene help make Happiness a better film than it might have been otherwise. Much better, in fact.
  12. It has taken only two films, "Welcome to the Dollhouse" and now Happiness, for Todd Solondz to establish his as one of the most lacerating, funny and distinctive voices in American film.
  13. Part of this success is due to the exquisitely cast ensemble-composed of actors, not movie stars. To a man, woman and child, the unforced performers are spot-on.
  14. Reviewed by: Dave Kehr
    100
    Masterful.
  15. Sharp, funny, sad and daring as it may be, Happiness is missing something. Its points are often too obvious, its shocks too juvenile. It's impressive but not transcendent. [23 Oct 1998]
  16. Reviewed by: Ernest Hardy
    100
    Tragic, funny and deadpan dark, it's easily one of the best films of the year...It's the brutally unsentimental, intelligent, unflinching heart at the film's core that makes it a marvel.
  17. 100
    One of the most troubling views of the human race I've seen in years. Luckily for us, its depressing, almost pathologically ironic vision is redeemed by the sublimity of Solondz' filmmaking. I first saw the film at Cannes last May and it's haunted me, both for its nastiness and its brilliance, ever since.
  18. Happiness very quickly displays finesse and control, colored by a nearly exultant glee. [9 Nov 1998]
User Score
4.7

Mixed or average reviews- based on 67 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 22
  2. Negative: 5 out of 22
  1. Feb 27, 2012
    0
    Supposedly absurdist and very clever, but to me just seemed a monotonous, overly-lengthy, sordid mess with pointlessly dysfunctional 2DSupposedly absurdist and very clever, but to me just seemed a monotonous, overly-lengthy, sordid mess with pointlessly dysfunctional 2D characters. Wantonly repulsive and depressing: a black comedy without the comedy. Abysmal. Full Review »
  2. Apr 13, 2011
    0
    Amazing ! I have never in my life seen a movie where pretty much every single scene was disgusting, depressive, and repulsing. Why would aAmazing ! I have never in my life seen a movie where pretty much every single scene was disgusting, depressive, and repulsing. Why would a filmmaker make this movie ? What is the message ? What should the audience get out of it ? It simply shows the worst of people, in a ridiculously exaggerated way...
    Try assuming that everyone is great, and capable of great things, for a change !
    Full Review »
  3. JoshC
    Nov 20, 2006
    10
    Masterfull! Todd Solondz for president.