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Joy (Jane Adams) has absolutely nothing in common with her name; her sister Helen (Lara Flynn Boyle) is a sultry, narcissistic author who wants the experience of being raped to make her writing authentic; other sister Trish (Cynthia Stevenson) is married to Dr. Bill Maplewood (Dylan Baker) and has three kids. Dr. Bill is a pedophile who pleasures himself to teen magazines in the backseat of his car and has dreams of murdering strangers in a park; Dr. Bill's strangest patient, Allen (Phillip Seymour Hoffman), makes obscene phone calls and has an inventive way of pasting postcards to the wall; Allen's neighbor, Kristina (Camryn Manheim), is in love with him but has her own disgusting little story to hide. Nearly every character has a dark side, the only truly 'good' one (Joy) seems to get everything wrong, and the one romance that blooms during the movie has a twinge of wrongness to it.Read more ›
Hate this film if you like, but at least tell the truth about why you hate it: because it shows the simple, bland, unbearable truth.
Yet, these same folks watch an original movie such as Happiness and they are all of a sudden sickened by the roles, scenes, and subject matter. I get it. Really, I do. Pedophilia is not a subject anyone should be comfortable about. It’s a hideous and disgusting condition, but it undoubtedly exists in our society.
Please understand, in no way, am I advocating pedophilia by liking this movie. I too was grossed out and repulsed by the subject matter. However, unlike most movies, Happiness is not glorifying anything here. It is simply telling you an original story of authentic characters going through the same everyday conditions we all struggle through whether we like it or not. All anyone has to do these days is to turn on the local news channel to discover how messed up our world truly is. What you see on the news is what you’re seeing in Happiness- so don’t be surprised and disgusted when see reality for what it is.
And movies should be an escape from all that. That is why I’m only giving Happiness 4 stars. It is not an escape- it is a shameless reminder of how insane life can be, how dysfunctional our families are, and how even the best relationships have their monsters in the closet. However, this movie, for all its dark and demented scenes shares some fleeting moments of hilarity! Yes, it is funny. That is, if you have an open mind.
And there it is- if you have an open mind, you’ll like or love this film. If you don’t, you’ll trash this film and think it’s stupid. Just remember- when you watch that next film and you’re not turned off by all the violence and sexual content, then you should be ashamed and not so judgmental.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This movie has an interesting cast of amazing actors and actresses.
I loved Louise Lasser (who had played Mary Hartman) as the grandmother. Read more
I love everything about this film. I think it's mandatory viewing for every human being. I've never had a movie make me physically uneasy watching it before. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Chris Cottec