Something Like Happiness
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A richly observed, nicely nuanced portrait of lives in transition. ----The Hollywood Reporter
Top Customer Reviews
The combined effect of the emotional web that centers on these 3 gifted performers is enhanced by the rest of the superb ensemble cast and increases the believability of the story-line and the setting. The struggles of everyday life among a group of friends, lovers, and relatives in an economically depressed area is so vivid and life-like that viewers from all walks of life will easily relate to them.
As other reviewers have mentioned, the story and the characters develop gradually but relentlessly. Patience in watching this film will be rewarded -- the emotional undertones will grip you and refuse to let go of you.
Monika(Tatiana Vilhelmová),Tonik(Pavel Liska)and Dasha(Anna Geislerová) all three friends living in a housing project on the outskirts of a bleak industrial Czech city. Each longs for something that the others have but don't have themseves be it a dream ofva better life, a lover in America or stability. When Dasha has a breakdown and is institutionalized Monika and Tonik adopt her two young children and move onto Tonik's aunt's farm. Along with the new living arrangements come feelings of longing and love that both parties did not realize existed.
The film is beautifully shot and its presentation is fitting for the source material. Like Slama's other offering The Country Teacher this is a small film that is well worth seeking out. The film did extremely well on the festival circuit and garnered several Czech film awards.
"Something Like Happiness" (2005 release from Czech Republic; 102 min.) brings the story of Monika, a twenty-something young lady. As the movie opens, we see Monika at the airport and we later understand that she just saw off her boyfriend who is leaving for a promising job opportunity (and parallel better life opporunity) in the US (San Fransico, it is later revealed). Monika is desparately wanting to go as well, and she waits to hear from her boyfriend. In the meantime, she hangs out with her friends Tonik (a guy she's known since young childhood) and Dasha, an irresponsible single mother of two young boys, who seems to get worse (and more dangerous) by the day. Will Monika get to the US? What is to become of Dasha and her kids? And where does Tonik fit in in all of this? To tell you more would ruin your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: I knew (purposefully) very little of the plot when I started watching this, and color me surpised as this movie turned into a gritty, somber, yet gripping Czech family drama. We see average people struggling to get by from day to week to month, yet somehow they have to. I am not sure where exactly within the Czech Republic this movie was shot, it looks to be somewhere on the outskirts of a city (Prague?), and the drab scenery is outright depressing. But don't let that fool you. Once the movie has established its main characters, you cannot look away and will want to know how it all plays out. Bottom line, "Something of Happiness" is another worthy addition to the rich Film Movement catalog of foreign and indie movies. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Tonik (Pavel Liska of `Teacher`) is a sensitive soul alienated from his comfortable middle-class family. He squats with his beloved aunt at dilapidated family farm living off odd mechanic work. Together they survive the best they can, eeking out a bare existence with potatoes and goats, and plastic over the roof.
Tonik`s best friend from youth, Monika (the comely, talented, Tatiana Wilhelmova), shares her affections with Tonik and their other friend, the unstable and self-destructive Dasha (the super-talented Ana Geislerova). Whilst Moni waits to follow her boyfriend to the States, she assumes the role of mother for Dasha`s two young boys, unfortunately caught up in their mother`s unpredictable lifestyle.
As Dasha spirals ever downward into ever erratic behavior, Tonik and Moni put aside their own troubles and unite to help their friend. They take control of the boys as Dasha begin to unravel further. Tonik`s submerged feelings for his childhood pal simmer to the surface as both friends decide to `temporarily` raise the boys with Tonik`s aunt as one big, stable family.
Liska`s acting here is impeccable. Tonik`s passive, puppy-dog stares and gentle demeanor mask his true feelings for Moni. Wilhelmova`s Moni is equally well-crafted. Moni struggles to appease a pushy mother who wants her daughter to be in a `better` place where people make `something out of themselves, ` i.e. America.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very few Czech movies are entertainable enjoyable whether they are filmed today or during the Communist era, and 'Something like happiness' is no exception. Read morePublished on March 25, 2014 by Jake
can, I really enjoyed this film. While it was somewhat depressing and full of poverty as many of the Czech films seem to be that I have watched, it was a very pretty love story.Published on January 5, 2013 by Elena
Well acted. I enjoyed it very much. It is vary sad and deals with loneliness and love. I would recommend the film but I will mention again that that it is sad.Published on December 19, 2011 by happy listener
A feel good movie, with a great story line that really shows how we all struggle with life's ups and downs, and how we can have some small semblance of happiness in the end!Published on October 5, 2011 by smotto00