Metascore
74

Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 9 Ratings

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  • Summary: Robert Hanson is a Copenhagen police officer who, following a nervous breakdown, is transferred to a small provincial town to take on the mysteriously vacated Marshall position and subsequently gets mixed up with a married femme fatale. Robert’s big city temperament makes it impossible forRobert Hanson is a Copenhagen police officer who, following a nervous breakdown, is transferred to a small provincial town to take on the mysteriously vacated Marshall position and subsequently gets mixed up with a married femme fatale. Robert’s big city temperament makes it impossible for him to fit in, or understand the uncivilized, bizarre behavior displayed by the townspeople. Quickly spiraling downward into an intense fable reminiscent of the Coen Brothers’ Blood Simple and No Country for Old Men, Terribly Happy displays a unique, often macabre vision of the darkest depths to which people will go to achieve a sense of security and belonging. (Oscilloscope Laboratories) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18
  1. Not a horror movie but a witty, expertly constructed psychological thriller.
  2. 83
    Inventive, droll and sharp, the film is rich in comic darkness but quite humane and genuine as well.
  3. The film gets seriously weird as it goes along, but without losing its sense of direction or taste for offbeat humor.
  4. This deadpan police story produces unexpected chills.
  5. 75
    The actors are charmingly low-key, and the lensing, by Jorgen Johansson, adds to the offbeat aura. Whatever you do, don't miss the booze-guzzling showdown.
  6. Reviewed by: Gary Goldstein
    70
    An enjoyably involving mystery-thriller.
  7. 50
    The characters are intended to be slightly stupid, but the writing isn’t necessarily smarter.

See all 18 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 2
  2. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Jul 31, 2013
    8
    Its as if David Lynch has directed a unique, psychological thriller/western that oddly develops on the soggy plains of Copenhagen. "TerriblyIts as if David Lynch has directed a unique, psychological thriller/western that oddly develops on the soggy plains of Copenhagen. "Terribly Happy" is a relentless and expressionless film noir, and may be the best pseudo-western that Denmark has ever sent our way. The plot nudges us to laugh at things that aren't funny, except they are, because we're not that hapless schmuck doing precisely the thing he shouldn't do in the exactly the wrong town.

    The setting is a remote Danish burg that's as bleak and crummy as most of its residents. Robert (Jakob Cedergren) is a Copenhagen police officer who transfers to a small provincial town to fill the position of the mysteriously vacated Marshall. He wants to be the good guy, but the citizens have their own ways of dispensing justice, and besides, there's a skeleton in Robert's closet he's been in trouble, and his new assignment is a kind of banishment. The townspeople are a gallery of surly grotesques living in fear of the town bully, Jørgen (Kim Bodnia), who habitually beats his wife, Ingelise (Lene Maria Christensen).

    She shows Robert her bruises and scars, and comes on to him. She wants his help and then doesn't want it she's one confused woman. We don't know who's telling the truth, and neither does Robert, who is advised to look the other way. Of course, he doesn't. Opportunities for compromise abound. Robert's big city temperament makes it impossible for him to fit in, or what to make of the bizarre behavior displayed by the town's people.

    As the storyline unfolds, it grows increasingly desperate and darkly comedic. The unease is undisguised, and you, like Robert, will fight it at first, but eventually be forced to accept it and just give in. Director Genz is perfectly paired with cinematographer Jørgen Johansson who captures the essence of trepidation and misery. To call this a dark comedy may be misleading because you won't be laughing out loud, but the humor keeps an unnerving undercurrent. An offbeat modern noir, and an unusually compelling portrait of a town that has its own sense of justice.
    Expand
  2. JimF
    Feb 11, 2010
    5
    I was impressed at first by how well this Danish drama understood the psychological elements of film, but when it came time to lay the cards I was impressed at first by how well this Danish drama understood the psychological elements of film, but when it came time to lay the cards on the table, it came up short. What some critics have called surrealism strikes me as implausibility, a quality that escalates to sheer lunacy by the film's end. Expand

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