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The search for happiness connects lonely lives in this subversively funny film from Todd Solondz, director of Welcome To The Dollhouse. Meet three sisters at the center of a struggle with the secret demons of middle class perfection. Challenge your sympathies and see the movie that made over 50 top ten lists of 1998.
At times brilliant and insightful, at times repellent and false, Happiness is director Todd Solondz's multistory tale of sex, perversion, and loneliness. Plumbing depths of Crumb-like angst and rejection, Solondz won the Cannes International Critics Prize in 1998 and the film was a staple of nearly every critic's Top Ten list. Admirable, shocking, and hilarious for its sarcastic yet strangely empathetic look at consenting adults' confusion between lust and love, the film stares unflinchingly until the audience blinks. But it doesn't stop there. A word of strong caution to parents: One of the main characters, a suburban super dad (played by Dylan Baker), is really a predatory pedophile and there is more than an attempt to paint him as a sympathetic character. Children are used in this film as running gags or, worse, the means to an end. Whether that end is a humorous scene for Solondz or sexual gratification for the rapist becomes largely irrelevant. Happiness is an intelligent, sad film, revelatory and exact at moments. It's also abuse in the guise of art. That's nothing to celebrate. --Keith Simanton
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