Happy Valley (2014) - Rotten Tomatoes

Happy Valley (2014)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: Sober, even-handed, and quietly devastating, Happy Valley illuminates the wreckage of a tragedy while leaving viewers room to draw their own conclusions.

Movie Info

In his newest film, Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Amir Bar-Lev (My Kid Could Paint That, The Tillman Story) takes audiences on a thought-provoking journey into the town of State College, the home of Penn State University, an area long known as "Happy Valley." The film delves into the culture of a school, town and country where football is religion; into the world of Joe Paterno, Penn State's iconic head football coach for over four decades; and into the days, months and years leading up to November 2011, when everything came crashing down. HAPPY VALLEY chronicles the ensuing firestorm of accusations of this complicated and tragic tale, and creates a parable of guilt, responsibility, and identity for a small town caught in the glare of the national spotlight.(C) Music Box Filmsmore
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Documentary, Drama
Directed By: ,
Written By: Amir Bar-Lev, Dave McKenna
In Theaters:
On DVD: Apr 7, 2015
Box Office: $22.7k
Runtime:
Music Box Films - Official Site

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News & Interviews for Happy Valley

Critic Reviews for Happy Valley

All Critics (35) | Top Critics (14)

It's not a groundbreaking thesis, but we still get a fascinating tour of a town that may never be the same again.

Full Review… | December 4, 2014
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

The film could've benefited from another 15 or 20 minutes of detail and nuance. What's there, though, is strong, thoughtful and disturbing.

Full Review… | November 27, 2014
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Here it is, folks, in your face. Will you look or return to your own private Happy Valley?

Full Review… | November 21, 2014
New York Magazine/Vulture
Top Critic

[A] thorough, thoughtful and disturbing documentary ...

Full Review… | November 20, 2014
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

The documentary offers a compelling overview of the case, but Bar-Lev spends too much time painting Paterno as a victim and scapegoat. That advocacy doesn't sit well.

Full Review… | November 20, 2014
Entertainment Weekly
Top Critic

Less an investigation into or comprehensive summary of the Penn State sex-abuse scandal than a look at the feelings it elicited, Amir Bar-Lev's Happy Valley is more concerned with the phenomenon of team spirit than any single question of fact.

Full Review… | November 20, 2014
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Happy Valley

At first, the documentary doesn't seem to have any perspective until it gradually reveals a disturbing thesis . . . that people will generally disregard some of the worst things imaginable in favor of keeping their symbols and heroes intact. The fact that most of the people in this town and at this college seem to care more about Football stats than the rape of children is the perfect demonstration of humankind at it's most callous and psychotic.

Alec Barniskis
Alec Barniskis

Super Reviewer

When we love a famous person (in this case a revered coach), we are all too willing to overlook or disregard any and all information that makes us reexamine that person. If you have any illusions that Joe Paterno was a great guy and did all he could to prevent the rape of children, or that he truly knew nothing about it, you owe it to yourself to watch this.

Good documentary about the events of the Jerry Sandusky scandal at Penn State and most poignantly, the effect on the State College community.

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