Metascore
74

Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critics

Critic 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. 89
    Terribly Happy isn't, but it is wonderfully unhinged, and a painstakingly constructed meditation on a place where good and evil meet, mate, and make sour times sublime and, dare I say it, beautiful.
  3. 83
    Inventive, droll and sharp, the film is rich in comic darkness but quite humane and genuine as well.
  4. 83
    This is a smart, melancholy crime picture, which takes its cues from the title of the perverse old standard Christensen plays on her stereo at night: “You Always Hurt The One You Love.”
  5. The film gets seriously weird as it goes along, but without losing its sense of direction or taste for offbeat humor.
  6. Terribly Happy must surely be the greatest Danish Western ever made.
  7. Reviewed by: Nicolas Rapold
    80
    Cedergren is a little too bland, but that works with Hansen's air of haplessness and sets him apart from the colorful locals. His self-inflicted reckoning is a horizon visible throughout the movie, and the bog outside of town is a thudding but effective metaphor of willful repression.
  8. Reviewed by: Allisa Simon
    80
    Entertaining and full of surprising twists, this highly cinematic tale of a Copenhagen policeman working punishment duty in the provinces plays with genre in a manner that can be compared with the Coen brothers or David Lynch.
  9. 75
    I've only been to Denmark twice and have no idea if this is even remotely a Danish situation, but it could fit right fine in the Old West.
  10. 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.
  11. It may not sound funny, but there's a bleakly comic air about the story, and a bit of surrealism, suggesting the most caustic side of the Coen brothers.
  12. This deadpan police story produces unexpected chills.
  13. Reviewed by: Andy Klein
    75
    Genz and Erling have constructed a story so clever that the pleasure of following its twists is enough in itself.
  14. Reviewed by: Gary Goldstein
    70
    An enjoyably involving mystery-thriller.
  15. Lurid and stylish, this 2008 Danish feature plays like a cross between "The Postman Always Rings Twice" and "High Noon," with a dash of Gothic thriller.
  16. Such dark doings won't be for everyone, but fans of similarly dry Nordic fare -- like the works of Aki Kaurismaki -- will be happy to have found it.
  17. The film is vigorous exercise for those who prefer their mysteries knowing and knotty.
  18. 50
    The characters are intended to be slightly stupid, but the writing isn’t necessarily smarter.
User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 9 Ratings

User 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. "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.
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