Happiness

User Score
3.0

Generally unfavorable reviews- based on 108 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 108
  2. Negative: 70 out of 108
Watch On

Review this movie

  1. Your Score
    0 out of 10
    Rate this:
    • 10
    • 9
    • 8
    • 7
    • 6
    • 5
    • 4
    • 3
    • 2
    • 1
    • 0
    • 0
  1. Submit
  2. Check Spelling
  1. Jun 6, 2015
    9
    This is a thought provoking masterful movie definitely not for the emotionally faint-hearted (or closed-minded, which may amount to the same thing). It really reveals the nature of emotions and sexuality and the pathological disconnectedness of modern society. The movie is both very sad and extremely funny at the same time. I highly recommend this movie to film buffs and anyone who takesThis is a thought provoking masterful movie definitely not for the emotionally faint-hearted (or closed-minded, which may amount to the same thing). It really reveals the nature of emotions and sexuality and the pathological disconnectedness of modern society. The movie is both very sad and extremely funny at the same time. I highly recommend this movie to film buffs and anyone who takes an interest in the heart of things. Expand
  2. Sep 19, 2014
    10
    Truly one of the finest independent American films I have ever seen. A deserved masterpiece. It may be difficult for the modern-day world to watch but it's also equally as necessary. Having seen it now both originally at theatres and now recently on video, my only qualm is that now it seems to be edited somewhat. I hope in future the original version can be seen.
  3. Jan 4, 2014
    4
    Off the charts ridiculous. Happiness manages to be disturbing and kind of funny at the same time. The movie is too long and the characters are reprehensible, with scenes that were repulsive. I guess it will be a movie to remember but in more bad ways than good.
  4. Dec 27, 2013
    9
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. This film is stunningly pessimistic, but in a lighthearted and weirdly optimistic way, lending a great insight into the complexities of the human condition. Great performances (especially from Dylan Baker) compliment this eccentric and brave script that fits together like a beautiful jigsaw and stares with a kind of accusatory tenderness into the soul of its audience. The third of three scenes in which Bill Maplewood (the paedophile) and his son discuss sex is so frank and tense, I had it in my head for weeks afterwards. I'd say the line 'Dad, would you ever me?' is one of the most chilling in cinematic history. Apart from Jane Adams' character (Joy Jordan) being pretty annoying, this film is fairly flawless and should be seen by anyone reading this. Expand
  5. Dec 29, 2012
    9
    Easily the most disturbing and hilarious film simultaneously ever made; the ultimate of dark humor movies. Happiness is an ensemble drama that skips around between multiple storylines. Three sisters; a young women socially isolated seeking relationships, another happily married with a psychiatrist husband and three kids. Unfortunately, her husband develops an unnatural fascination for hisEasily the most disturbing and hilarious film simultaneously ever made; the ultimate of dark humor movies. Happiness is an ensemble drama that skips around between multiple storylines. Three sisters; a young women socially isolated seeking relationships, another happily married with a psychiatrist husband and three kids. Unfortunately, her husband develops an unnatural fascination for his 11 year old son's male classmate, fantasizes about mass killing in a park, and masturbates to teen magazines. One of his patients, Allen (Seymour Hoffman) has a fascination for the third sister who desperately wants to be raped. Meanwhile, the apparently stable 40 year marriage of the sister's parents suddenly unravels when he decides he has had enough and wants to be alone. The lives of these people are all connected by the desire for happiness, often from immoral, dark sources. The only situation that seems out of place is the conversation in a diner where a lady admits to Allen about murdering someone. Clearly this is a film not for everyone due to the disturbing subject matters, it's the zenith of the darkest of dark humor. Fantastic all around performances by a formidable cast, especially Dylan Baker and Seymour Hoffman Collapse
  6. Feb 27, 2012
    0
    Supposedly 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.
  7. Jul 15, 2011
    7
    A memorable if uncomfortable watch. As a comedy it falls short for me as the material is just too depressing to elicit a laugh, BUT it is compelling as drama. Some great performances, not a "feel-good" film in the least, but very well made none-the less. If it suffers from anything in particular it is just too long - given the pace perhaps best watched over 2 sessions
  8. 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 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 !
  9. AnthonyP.
    Jul 12, 2008
    2
    Clever, yes, but so utterly cynical, so completely bitter: every single character is either singularly pathetic or reprehensible - almost no complexity or dimension to any person in the film, no handle to grasp anyone's humanity, unless you accept that humanity is just the pits! The writing is all affect; the lines, gratuitously sardonic: self-involved people happlessly dumping on Clever, yes, but so utterly cynical, so completely bitter: every single character is either singularly pathetic or reprehensible - almost no complexity or dimension to any person in the film, no handle to grasp anyone's humanity, unless you accept that humanity is just the pits! The writing is all affect; the lines, gratuitously sardonic: self-involved people happlessly dumping on one another, poisoning everyone, everything in the film, poisoning the film itself. There is no glimpse of potential for any character - no soul; all misery. What amazes me is how much favor it has found with the critics. Are they so cynical, so starved for originalty (one credit to this film) that they are happy to bathe in its abject, unrelenting wretchedness? It must be a holiday of schadenfreude for the culturally overfed! Expand
  10. SteveM.
    Apr 6, 2008
    4
    I had this built up by countless friends. It was so incredibly drawn out. The only story that kept my interest was the psychiatrist. Rarely made me laugh; more often made me sleepy. BIG let down.
  11. JayH.
    Apr 2, 2008
    6
    Interesting story and a terrific ensemble of actors. I didn't see the need for it to be quite so long, but it sure has some great scenes along the way. Well written and directed. Not for all tastes and a bit overrated.
  12. JoshC
    Nov 20, 2006
    10
    Masterfull! Todd Solondz for president.
  13. Jared
    Mar 11, 2006
    10
    An absurdist comedy who's concequences are all too real. Each character bleeds emotion, yet we find ourselves compelled to laugh at their comically tragic situations. It satirizes everything yet remains incredibly poignant. All in all it is a starkly human movie, with the depravity we so often enjoy, yet so often regret.
  14. JenniferH.
    May 3, 2005
    10
    Beautiful.
  15. DaveC.
    Jul 13, 2004
    4
    Who knows? Such shameless trivialisation of issues such as isolation, depression and paedophilia might have been acceptable if this film were actually funny. Unfortunately, it only provokes the odd laugh here and there which is no good in a film that is so bleak and cynical. Watch American Beauty instead. A film that also centers on victims of capitalism but portrays but makes them out to Who knows? Such shameless trivialisation of issues such as isolation, depression and paedophilia might have been acceptable if this film were actually funny. Unfortunately, it only provokes the odd laugh here and there which is no good in a film that is so bleak and cynical. Watch American Beauty instead. A film that also centers on victims of capitalism but portrays but makes them out to be human beings with strengths and weaknesses rather than emotional punchbags. Expand
  16. JonathanH.
    Apr 3, 2004
    10
    A wonderful film, one that i can understand that a lot of people are going to hate, but i was amazed throughout.
  17. Oh,God,It'sGilbertMulroneycakesAgain
    Dec 6, 2003
    10
    Yes, it's me again, and yes, Yoon Min Cho, I'm talking to you again - sorry about that - but I would like to know the REASON that certain truths are best handled discreetly. I thought everything was fair game for artistic commentary, provided it was handled sensitively - which is not the same as discreetly - and which Solondz, I feel does properly in Happiness. Over to you, then.
  18. YoonMinC.
    Sep 26, 2003
    7
    You gotta give Solondz credit for going for the jugular (or the groin) in depicting the dark obsessions haunting apparently Dilbert-like characters. But, as powerful and illuminating as the movie is about certain naturally taboo aspects of our existence, it's ultimately a banal statement about ugliness of humanity. The running(or dripping)motif in the movie is sperm ejaculated by boy You gotta give Solondz credit for going for the jugular (or the groin) in depicting the dark obsessions haunting apparently Dilbert-like characters. But, as powerful and illuminating as the movie is about certain naturally taboo aspects of our existence, it's ultimately a banal statement about ugliness of humanity. The running(or dripping)motif in the movie is sperm ejaculated by boy and man alike, and maybe it's time we denude Freudianism of its academic pretensions but what are we left with? Nothing more profound than taking a dump with the washroom door wide open so everyone can smell the fumes. Is this truth? Yes, but there is a REASON, a good reason, why certain truths are best handled discreetly. Expand
  19. GilbertMulroneycakesAtTheLondonPalladium
    Jul 16, 2003
    10
    Elliot M. raises a good point - about how there is no feeling for the characters - but forgets one thing: the Your Mileage My Vary? clause. I didn't feel it lacked substance, quite the opposite: it found it brilliant, disturbing filmmaking, if terribly hard to watch at times (I made the mistake of eating while watching it. It took me forty minutes to finish the one sandwich. I pity Elliot M. raises a good point - about how there is no feeling for the characters - but forgets one thing: the Your Mileage My Vary? clause. I didn't feel it lacked substance, quite the opposite: it found it brilliant, disturbing filmmaking, if terribly hard to watch at times (I made the mistake of eating while watching it. It took me forty minutes to finish the one sandwich. I pity the people who saw it at the cinema, walking out with untouched cartons of popcorn). I don't think that it forgot how to be a movie in its search for this appetite-sucking effect, though: Solondz knows how to make a film, and he knows that the best way to shock people is to put the shocks into a good film. Otherwise it would just have been "David Lynch's Slackers". But it may not work so well for everyone. It is a horrible film. But a good one. In fact, a bloody good one. Though it isn't often very funny, except a few horror-humour hybrid moments. Of course, I was concentrating on swallowing the sandwich, and may have missed a few belly-laughs. But I doubt it. Expand
  20. Rob
    Jul 2, 2003
    1
    This movie is unnecessary trash. Who thinks to release this garbage? The scarier part are the people who find this crap entertaining.
  21. ElliotM.
    Sep 20, 2002
    3
    Unlike Welcome to the Dollhouse, in which the audience develops deep sympathy for the young girl terrorized by her peers, Happiness fails to establish any sort of feelings toward ANY of its many characters, thanks primarily to its inclusion of some of the most unnecessary and pointless images in film history. (The film includes not one, but TWO ridiculous ejaculation scenes, one by a Unlike Welcome to the Dollhouse, in which the audience develops deep sympathy for the young girl terrorized by her peers, Happiness fails to establish any sort of feelings toward ANY of its many characters, thanks primarily to its inclusion of some of the most unnecessary and pointless images in film history. (The film includes not one, but TWO ridiculous ejaculation scenes, one by a pre-teen). Sure, some actors are memorable in their roles, and their portrayals of their characters are somewhat believable (particularly the unstable Joy and her brother-in-law, a pedophile) and a few scenes do invoke occasional laughter; however, the majority of all involved are observed only superficially, so there is a prevailing sense of disbelief that permeates throughout much of the film. Solondz is so hell-bent on disturbing the audience, that he forgets to integrate anything worth watching here. Unlike some films like "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer" or "Santa Sangre," which illustrate some of the most distrubing images in history, Happiness lacks substance on so many levels, it reaches the point of humor - which I don't think is Solondz' point. The previously listed films practically breathe substance in every direction: they are fully-formed masterpieces, illicting discomfort not only through their imagery, but through their compelling storytelling. Here we have a film so determined to be shocking and provocative that it forgets to be anything else. It is flat, lifeless, and most of all, not very funny. Grade: D+ Expand
  22. MichaelS.
    Apr 29, 2002
    10
    Refreshing...black comedy...irreverent, dark...and BOLD...great cast.
  23. WilliamM.
    Apr 18, 2002
    10
    Never before have I been to a theatre in which the manager gets up before the movie starts to "warn" the audience about the general content of the film. Yes, it deals with pedophilia, but why warn the damned audience? Ridiculous. The guy then told everyone that if they wanted to talk about it afterwards, he would be available near the popcorn machine. Scary thought.
Metascore
81

Universal acclaim - based on 30 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 26 out of 30
  2. Negative: 0 out of 30
  1. Everyone who likes this movie calls it "disturbing," but what disturbs me most is the self-loathing laughter it provokes, similar to what one often hears at Woody Allen and Michael Moore comedies.
  2. It's not the subject matter itself that's offensive -- pedophilia is as worthy a topic of investigation as any other. Instead, it's the subject's non-treatment -- we don't learn a thing that rings true.
  3. 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.