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I am giving a standing ovation threw out this whole review. Every actor is this film is a somebody today. The cast is diamond strong. Everything feel real and nothing is forced at all. The writing..... the writing is impeccable. Who ever thought this is a Genius. Yes everything in the film is wrong and messed up. But the way it's protrade is meticulous to say the least. They cover so many topics that and uncomfortable and morbid to say the least. And the talks between the father and the sun were bizarre and might be the funniest thing I've ever seen. And one of the best endings of all time hands down. If your twiztid and have a dark sense of humour and can handle ALOT of awkward moments. Check this out RIGHT NOW! 10 outta 10!!!!
Reviewed in the United States on November 18, 2018
Good seller. Good condition and speedy delivery. And thank you for the copy as I have not been able to find a digital copy of this classic favorite.
This film is hard to review. It's definitely unique in that it pushes the envelope and deals with a lot of taboos that most films don't dare go there.
It's centered around three sisters whose lives are screwed up in different ways. It starts out with a cameo from Jon Lovitz that is hilarious but also a bit sad. Then we get to have a look into the characters weird yet normal lives. I wont give too much away but there are a lot of wtf scenes that make you wanna laugh your head off but you feel awkward for doing so. You'll enjoy it more if you're open minded with a sick and twisted sense of humor (like me). All others are more than likely to be disgusted and offended.
Great and disturbing movie all in one with multiple stories in and out through movie. The acting is perfect but the subject matter may turn some off but it's real non the less. This is my favorite Phillip Seymour Hoffman performance and Dylan Baker performance is awesome eventhough his story is VERY DISTURBING AND DISCUSSING!!! But that is what Todd Solondz movies usually are real stories about real people and sometimes the ugliness of those people
This DVD was covered in scratches. I hope it will play without a hiccup. Unfortunately I have no time to send it back as I am a traveling musician and bought this specially for a tour. A partial refund for false advertising would be appropriate.
Short comment here: one of my favorite films! It's outrageous, the character relationships are 'way over the edge'; the acting is splendid. I've watched this dvd quite a few times and always found myself falling to the floor in hysterics. Super Crazy! Super Fun!
This is one of those films that suddenly hit you, when you don't expect it. I would say that Happiness is a film in a Robert Altman style but with a very realistic touch. Altman's films are maybe less realistic because you recognize those famous actors and that's exactly the feeling that I did not have while watching Happiness. The film is very realistic and authentic to me, the way the actors mold their character and the way they relate to the others is superb and very non-selfish from an actor's point of view. What I am trying to say here, is that this is one of those rare films in which you can see people playing other people without noticing it's all worked out in a script. I'd like to mention David Lynch's masterwork, 'the Straight story', in which Sissy Spacek plays this stuttering daughter in a way that can only be described as heartbreaking realistic and very heartwarming at the same time. Some of the characters in Happiness did the same to me and that makes me say that this movie is a must-see. Although every viewer should be warned that there are some shocking moments and images, but they are all in place where they belong if you can take it. It is a movie about ordinary people living their ordinary, sometimes average life, and the way they are connected to eachother. Sometimes not knowing that they are connected, or will be connected at a certain moment in time, maybe in a certain place or brought together by people they both know. In this way, Happiness has some parallels with Robert Altman's 'Short Cuts', but Happiness stands out as a shocking, sometimes even funny but very present day in-depth look into people and their lives. Definitely Five Stars!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 1, 2017
I’ve always enjoyed ‘Happiness,’ despite asking myself WHY I ever bothered to watch it after every single viewing. Yes, the title is deliberately ironic as there is barely a trace of anything vaguely happy in the entire mover, but then it knows that. It’s safe to say that ‘Happiness’ is definitely not a ‘feel-good’ film and you really do need to know what you’re in for before you sit down to invest over two hours with this manic depressive beast of a movie.
I suppose you could call it an ‘ensemble’ piece as there are numerous characters all woven together around the three central characters who are sisters all at various stages of adulthood and doing their best to either live with what’s become their lot in life, or desperately try to change it. It’s basically a family drama, but with a few – very – dark helpings of black humour. However, the overriding thing to say about ‘Happiness’ is that it deals with the worst themes you can probably think of and presents them in a way that forces you to think about those who it’s easy to despise without a second thought. Therefore, you don’t just have to be in the mood for something depressing, but also something that really goes into areas of human nature that you would probably not like to dwell on, most notably child abuse.
‘Happiness’ is a film that will certainly leave an impact on you, even if it’s just you swearing you will never watch something like that again. However, for all the darkness and realism it presents, I have watched it about three times and I think it’s a worthy film. The performances are all excellent. You’d be hard put to it to find a weak link among the cast. Phillip Seymour Hoffman is naturally excellent, but perhaps the hardest role falls to Dylan Baker who plays possibly one of the most (bizarrely!) relatable child molesters you’ve ever met. It must have been a horrible role for him and he plays it to perfection.
Like I say, don’t expect feel-good and get ready for a rough ride. But, if you’re in the mood for something as deep as this it will certainly make you wonder who’s sitting opposite you and what goes on behind the façade of family-friendly life.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 12, 2017
This film won the Cannes Critics prize in 1998. It is an unflinching look at the lives of dysfunctional people, focusing primarily on the lives of 3 sisters (adults) and their elderly parents. Through a series of vignettes we are introduced to other characters e.g. Philip Seymour Hoffman. The film is controversial, and apparently alot of famous film critics love it.
In this film there is family breakdown, psychoanalysis, adult magazines, divorce, masturb- one handed love, stalking, perversion, .....and boredom. The film is interesting, and dull at times. The pace is very slow; many scenes drag on for ages and barely anything happens. In regard to the characters, they really are a hideous group of people and the type of people you would not like to be stuck in a lift with. They are dull, boring, creepy, pathetic and unlikeable, and you never feel any sympathy towards them.
The cinematography is very flat and makes the film resemble a TV movie ergo it must have been low budget. I have a varied taste in films, from big budget blockbusters to no-budget arthouse films, and I'm going to be hideously uncool by saying that this film is a tedious look at the lives of a group of odd-ball people. Brave film-making; it's like a curate's egg. 7/10
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 9, 2011
Never before has a film addressed "coming of age" quite so literally.
This is a dark, dark comedy: the sort of thing that might emanate from the deepest circle of the hell of Woody Allen's nightmares. The titular happiness, in case you were wondering, is colossally ironic. This is a story of loosely related individuals - more loosely related than you'd expect given most relations are of the blood or marital sort - all of whom are profoundly at odds with themselves and their environment. Much of their collected oddness manifests itself in sexual dysfunction of one sort or another, but of a far deeper and sicker kind than is commonly found in Woody Allen's material. Indeed, by comparison Allen's neuroticism seems positively winsome.
These people are deeply, darkly, fatally neurotic: Phillip Seymour Hoffman, who seems to revel in these kinds of parts, an overweight, greasy, bespectacled misogynist who has unspeakable fantasies, fantasies which he nonetheless brazenly speaks about, to his shrink and to his victims, through inept crank calls. His shrink Bill Maplewood (Dylan Baker) is a paedophile. Maplewood is married to Trish (Cynthia Stevenson) a woman whose hi-tensile smugness betrays a fundamental insecurity about her place in the world. Trish doesn't know of, but we suspect she may fear for, her husband's ghastly proclivities. Trish has two sisters who, in turn, field Allen's crank calls, and seem to enjoy them. The sisters' parents, holed up in a Florida condo, see their Marriage as a loveless contractual bind.
In the middle of it all is a teenaged boy, Timmy (Justin Elvin), Trish and Bill's son, who is fruitlessly willing on the onset of his own puberty, providing his father a running commentary. His father darkly enjoys.
Could the set-up be any more neurotic?
The narrative gradually displaces itself from early focus on Allen towards the Bill, at which point whatever tacky residue of humour the film had retained is jettisoned and we are let into the paedophile's modus operandi. From there, for thirty minutes, Happiness is unrelentingly grim. Relief comes in the form of the travails of the third sister Joy (Jane Adams), a chronically frustrated spinster, who has stumbled into the arms of a Russian taxi driver (Jared Harris), whom we are invited to like for his uncluttered and direct approach to life, but who also turns out to be a monstrous pig.
The film has as its climax a harrowing exchange between Timmy and his father, now exposed as a paedophile, in which Timmy interrogates Bill about his sexual proclivities and his father answers him calmly and directly. It really is a striking sequence, but as with much of the film, it is thoroughly contrived.
These characters are archetypes we recognise as being profoundly American. Had the film been located anywhere else, the screenplay could would have seemed utterly implausible: you just can't imagine Europeans, let alone anyone else, being this self-involved.
Black humour returns at a stroke in the final scene, in a scene which will have you bent over in mirth or nausea depending on your, well, taste for such things. It seems a little bit of a cheap shot, though that's clearly not how Timmy will have felt about it.
5.0 out of 5 starsIf you value intelligent film-making with an excellent ensemble cast who portray neurosis ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 17, 2014
Wow, what a twisted little tale. Or more truthfully a set of tales about an extended family that interweave and collide at times. The subject matter could be considered dark, but art should be holding up a mirror to human behaviour and not shy away from it or gloss over the unappealing parts.
If you value intelligent film-making with an excellent ensemble cast who portray neurosis perfectly then you should not be disappointed.
By turns you will laugh, wince and maybe even cry at the situations that the characters get themselves into. And then you ask yourself "What is normal?" because these characters at first appear to be 'normal' by society's standards. Are we all just acting 'normal'? Any film that makes you think about these issues should get a thumbs up!
Happiness probably starts with the best break up scene in the movies, it’s the kind of thing most people would love to do to the ‘other half’. It’s basically the story of three divergent sisters and the people and relationships going on around them. Slow to get into and very easy to give up on, it takes determination to get through the first half hour or so, but stick with it and you could soon find yourself drawn into this macabre world of the taboo. Most films are escapist, they’re there simply to entertain. Solondz’ films are not easy to watch and at times are extremely cringe worthy, not the kind you’d want to watch with the kids or grandma [unless you’re as dysfunctional as the films characters] for they make us think about things we don’t want to think about. Happiness deals with paedophilia, masturbation, homosexuality, rape, you name it, it probably has it in there somewhere, poking an irreverent look at middle suburbia and its dualistic standards. Despite the subject matter you could easily be forgiven if you expect this to be pornographic in content, but it isn’t. What it is, is disturbing, it's often sad and there are some very frank discussions between youngsters and parents that you might find unsettling, The entire film is a bit like a plate of spaghetti. You pick up a strand and it intertwines with others, yet you can follow it to the end. Seemingly random comments early on turn out to be connected to the storyline elsewhere. It’s not a fast film, in fact it’s often quite slow and borders on becoming boring, but somehow you end up watching just to see where it ends up. The film isn’t funny, but does have dark humour in places. Despite having a huge cast of familiar faces, this film didn’t get to me as much as 'Welcome to the Dollhouse' or 'Palindromes' did. I found this much more commercial in tone. I can’t say it’s a must see, but it does tend to get compulsive as the film progresses.