Happy People: A Year in the Taiga - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Happy People: A Year in the Taiga Reviews

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Drew Hunt
Slant Magazine
January 21, 2013
It would be inaccurate to call Happy People: A Year in the Taiga the newest Werner Herzog film.
Full Review | Original Score: 1/4
Robert Levin
January 25, 2013
Unlike Werner Herzog's vintage efforts, Happy People plays like an everyday Discovery channel special.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Tom Long
Detroit News
March 15, 2013
"Happy People" seems to strain toward the notion that harsh nature makes for a pure heart. And perhaps it does for some. But all?
Full Review | Original Score: C
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James Adams
Globe and Mail
April 13, 2012
It feels too much, finally, like a Hinterland Who's Who instalment writ large, too respectful and plain for its own good...
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Donald J. Levit
ReelTalk Movie Reviews
January 28, 2013
Too quietly uneventful for the big screen and burdened narrationally with Western-civilization pomposity on the purity of unencumbered subsistence life and the sacrosanctity of Nature.
Top Critic
Michael O'Sullivan
Washington Post
February 22, 2013
They decidedly don't seem happy. And "Happy People's" decision to skate down the frozen Yenisei without examining their unhappiness more closely leaves a slight chill.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Farran Smith Nehme
New York Post
January 25, 2013
The film is both elegiac and amazingly retro, like the nature specials that baby boomers were weaned on - although it's not for animal lovers, unless you have a specific grudge against sables.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Barbara VanDenburgh
Arizona Republic
February 28, 2013
Herzog's longing for the ideological purity in which these lives are lived, free of paperwork and bureaucracy, taxes and technology, drives the film, which lacks an overall story arc.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Alan Scherstuhl
Village Voice
January 22, 2013
It's fitting that this film of people making do with what they have should itself look somewhat humble, without lyricism, a work not of beauty but of work-which is the thing that makes it beautiful, no matter who directed it.
Jonah Flicker
Paste Magazine
February 5, 2013
Happy People is an engrossing look at a culture that many viewers have never been exposed to, and as usual, Herzog's even-paced, accented narration is a joy to listen to.
Full Review | Original Score: 6/10
Sarah Sluis
Film Journal International
January 25, 2013
Documentary on the life of hunters in Siberia is a welcome antidote for coddled city dwellers who need a reminder that humanity survived before Internet connections.
Mark Deming
TV Guide
January 25, 2013
It's clear Mother Nature is the real boss in Bakhtia, and Happy People: A Year in the Taiga documents a few men doing a wary pas de deux with her in a genuinely fascinating and intelligent fashion.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Sam Adams
Philadelphia City Paper
February 23, 2013
Unmistakably part of the director's canon, and just as unmistakably a minor addition to it.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
Kelly Vance
East Bay Express
March 5, 2013
Quirky and a little scary and rapturous all at the same time.
Radheyan Simonpillai
NOW Toronto
April 13, 2012
Call it Werner Herzog's answer to Nanook Of The North.
Read More | Original Score: 3/5
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul)
St. Paul Pioneer Press
February 21, 2013
Herzog ... continues his streak of well-crafted documentaries with surprising subjects.
Read More | Original Score: 3/4
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Betsy Sharkey
Los Angeles Times
February 14, 2013
Herzog has become a master of the understatement - knowing just how long the images can sustain you without a word being said.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Nicolas Rapold
New York Times
January 24, 2013
Mr. Herzog is openly inspired, as ever, by the rugged independence of these resourceful trappers, who seem stoic about everything but their faithful dogs.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
Top Critic
Bruce Demara
Toronto Star
April 12, 2012
The scenes of the river ice buckling and heaving as the spring thaw sets in are among many that display raw and powerful nature.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Brian Tallerico
February 22, 2013
It's a minor film from a major director but it's still a strong one for those interested in its subject matter - how people can still co-exist with and live off the land instead of ignoring or abusing it.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5.0
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