The lives of many individuals connected by the desire for happiness, often from sources usually considered dark or evil.
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Critic Reviews for Happiness
Exhibits an almost pitch-perfect balance between condescension and compassion.
Happiness is tough stuff -- quietly confrontational, genuinely haunting, and, most disturbing of all, unexpectedly moving.
By far Solondz's best film, an original exploration of American suburban angst, with three Chekhovian sisters at the center and a gallery of "deviant" characters that are presented with humor in non-judgmental way.
It'll soon have you quoting German existential philosophers in coming to terms with it . . .
Even in the darkest, sickest moments, there's always some kind of humor [but] what makes this comedy superior to most is that it remains painfully sincere.
Some truly hilarious moments, but I spent most of the film with my mouth hanging open in shock.
...seduces us with subtle humor and then hammers us with unpleasantness; it seems as selfishly opportunistic as anything committed by the perverted characters it portrays.
I'm fairly thick skinned, but this film managed to create major feelings of revulsion in me.
A brave, brilliantly realized piece of work, one that will be debated about for years to come.
Solondz is one of the masters of flawlessly intermingling both pitch-black comedy and heartbreaking drama, sometimes at the very same moment.
If the film had managed somehow to keep the humor in with the shock quality, it would have been a triumph.
We are talking humor here in a shade of black that a raven would envy.
Solondz's view of [his characters] is prickly, perhaps, but he doesn't skewer them or indict humanity.
Everyone in this world is pretty much a pig of some sort. Those that aren't are doomed to be victims.
Audience Reviews for Happiness
"Happiness" sure is an experience. It's an ensemble movie about miserable (and often terrible) people who are searching desperately to find ways to not be so sad anymore. I found it to be too long and didn't like the jumps in tonal extremes. I also felt that some of the stories are far less interesting than others (and the more interesting ones are also the most revolting). Still, with a great cast and engaging dialogue, it may be worth watching. Just make sure to take a shower after.More
Todd Solondz 's film, present a jaw dropping dialoge, interesting characters, great black humor together with a tense drama, that show the life, relationships and strange sexuality of ordinary people trying to find they happiness in a disturb world. Happiness it's a bold, captivating, breathtaking and funny classic, of course Solondz's picture it's not for every audience, just the people that really understand black comedy and accept contoversial themes. It's also the first film, in a long time ago, that make a scene being sad, funny and surprising at the same time, just like Bill and Billy's last talk conclusion. Happiness is, without a doubt, one of best films from the 90's.More
So many fascinating characters in one and the same movie! Indie films of this sort have a tendency to be pretentious, but I thought this was nothing of the kind. The tone is quite dark and often disturbing, but at the same it achieves a near-impossible balance, by being really funny in all its tragedy. Even Jon Lovitz, whom I don't like that much as an actor, pulls off a remarkably good performance (despite his appearance being limited to one scene alone).
Every human on this planet wants to be happy, but sometimes things don't go according to plan, and this film does an excellent job at illustrating the pain, longings and dreams we all have and go through (altough some people's desires are more weird and sickening than others). In any case, this is one of the best indie flicks I've ever seen. A little draggy here and there, but with characters so addicting, that you're in constant anticipation of what they're gonna do next.
Highly recommended, presuming you can endure the permeating awkwardness!
A collection of loosely connected suburbanites come come to terms with their own flaws and failings in their quest for elusive "happiness". Todd Solondz's tragi-comedy no doubt met with shock and outrage from the moral majority and it is hard not to suspect that he was deliberately baiting the religious right with material that is so close to the knuckle. These characters suffer rejection, isolation, insecurity and sexual frustration at the hands of their peers and even when handed their fantasies, the result is nothing less than crushing disappointment. His attitude appears to be that social awkwardness begins at the age of 11 and continues into old age and we all seem utterly powerless to do anything about it; we're born, we're miserable and we die. A lot of us will find it hard to disagree but not everyone will be able to see the funny side of rape and child molestation! The closest comparisons I can think of are the likes of Magnolia and American Beauty, but Solondz takes these ideas to their most extreme and so therefore Happiness will only be to the taste of a small minority, but those who can stomach it will find some reward in this bleakest of the bleak black comedy that's unlike anything you've ever seen before.More
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