Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18
Watch On
  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
    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.”
  4. 83
    Inventive, droll and sharp, the film is rich in comic darkness but quite humane and genuine as well.
  5. The film gets seriously weird as it goes along, but without losing its sense of direction or taste for offbeat humor.
  6. Reviewed by: Allisa Simon
    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.
  7. Reviewed by: Nicolas Rapold
    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. Terribly Happy must surely be the greatest Danish Western ever made.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. Reviewed by: Andy Klein
    Genz and Erling have constructed a story so clever that the pleasure of following its twists is enough in itself.
  13. This deadpan police story produces unexpected chills.
  14. Reviewed by: Gary Goldstein
    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. The film is vigorous exercise for those who prefer their mysteries knowing and knotty.
  17. 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.
  18. 50
    The characters are intended to be slightly stupid, but the writing isn’t necessarily smarter.
User Score

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
    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.
    Full Review »
  2. JimF
    Feb 11, 2010
    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. Full Review »