Happiness

1998, Comedy/Drama, 2h 19m

47 Reviews 25,000+ Ratings

What to know

critics consensus

Happiness is far from a cheerful viewing experience, but its grimly humorous script and fearless performances produce a perversely moving search for humanity within everyday depravity. Read critic reviews

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Movie Info

This dark ensemble-comedy is centered on the three Jordan sisters. Joy (Jane Adams) moves through lackluster jobs with no sense of purpose. Now employed teaching adults, she is dating a student, Russian taxi-driver Vlad (Jared Harris). Helen (Lara Flynn Boyle) is an esteemed poet who becomes amused by her perverted neighbor, Allen (Philip Seymour Hoffman). And eldest sister Trish (Cynthia Stevenson) is married to Bill (Dylan Baker), a psychiatrist with a very disturbing secret life.

Cast & Crew

Jane Adams
Joy Jordan
Dylan Baker
Bill Maplewood
Ben Gazzara
Lenny Jordan
Jon Lovitz
Andy Kornbluth
Marla Maples
Ann Chambeau
Cynthia Stevenson
Trish Maplewood
Louise Lasser
Mona Jordan
Rufus Read
Billy Maplewood
Dan Moran
Joe Grasso
Evan Silverberg
Johnny Grasso
Ted Hope
Producer
Pamela Koffler
Line Producer
David Linde
Executive Producer
James Schamus
Executive Producer
Robbie Kondor
Original Music
Maryse Alberti
Cinematography
Alan Oxman
Film Editing
Thérèse DePrez
Production Design
John Bruce
Art Director
Nick Evans
Set Decoration
Kathryn Nixon
Costume Design
Nicki Ledermann
Key Makeup Artist
Gianna Sparacino
Hair Designer
Elayne Keratsis
Unit Production Manager
Eva Kolodner
Unit Production Manager
Jude Gorjanc
First Assistant Director
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Critic Reviews for Happiness

Audience Reviews for Happiness

  • Jun 20, 2015
    super funny tale all interconnected through the lives of three sisters. Some cringe worthy and memorable lines. Hoffman's part's hilarious!
    Sanity Assassin ! Super Reviewer
  • Jul 08, 2013
    "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.
    Sam B Super Reviewer
  • Jun 05, 2013
    Probably one of the most unconfortable movies ever made, Happiness is still an amazingly well crafted dark comedy with plenty of laughs and memorable moments. The super clean, steady cinematography with the bright/boring colors of the american suburbs works wonders to create the right tone for these depressing characters, with very few likeable ones that you can't connect to. It's not asking you to sympathize with these sexual perverts but by giving them some sort of humanization even on excruciating moments, is what sets it apart from all it's peers, never giving you an easy answer in the process.
    Francisco G Super Reviewer
  • Apr 03, 2013
    Happiness is an intensely dark and depressing comedy-drama that pulls no punches in terms of its grim story and despicable characters. Every single character has problems of some kind, and many of them exhibit genuinely disturbing behavior. The movie follows seven or eight characters with stories that intersect often. These characters range from a judgmental stay-at-home mom to a psychiatrist/father/pedophile to a desperate but lonely pervert. The two characters that are by far the most interesting (and the creepiest) are the pedophile, played by Dylan Baker, and the pervert, played perfectly by Philip Seymour Hoffman. Somehow, both characters are given enough humanity that you actually sympathize with them to a certain degree. The entire movie is filled with disgusting people involved in depressing situations in the pursuit of happiness, and needless to say there isn't a single happy thing that happens in the movie. It's definitely too dark and too heavy for a casual viewer, but if you can handle the controversial topics that Happiness explores, then you might find yourself enjoying it. Just don't expect to feel at all happy when it's over, because this is as much of a downer as a comedy can be.
    Joey S Super Reviewer

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