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

Happy People: A Year in the Taiga Reviews

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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Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
March 7, 2013
Titling a documentary about snowbound Siberian fur trappers "Happy People" is not as ironic as it seems.
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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
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Walter V. Addiego
San Francisco Chronicle
February 22, 2013
It's a do-it-yourself world that Herzog clearly admires - much of what we see is the men performing the tasks that enable them to survive.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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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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Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
February 15, 2013
If you want a taste of life as it must have been for the Voyageurs of old, this documentary is a good place to start.
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Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
February 15, 2013
Albeit a found film of sorts, Happy People is very much of a piece with Herzog's other work, examining man's place in the natural world, looking at man's history and man's ability to survive, to endure.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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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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Tom Keogh
Seattle Times
February 14, 2013
Herzog is not insincere. His passion for outsize experience has always captured our essential human identity against big backdrops. He captures it again in "Happy People," but this time with a twist.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Mark Feeney
Boston Globe
February 14, 2013
The film has a relaxed, matter-of-fact feel.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Dana Stevens
Slate
January 25, 2013
It's Herzog's inventive use of voice-over that elevates the film above an extremely well-researched episode of Nature.
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Andrew O'Hehir
Salon.com
January 25, 2013
We should be grateful to Herzog for bringing us this remarkable footage, but the real subject of "Happy People" may be his yearning for an imaginary paradise he can't have.
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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
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
Steven Boone
Chicago Sun-Times
January 24, 2013
What Herzog gleans from Yaskyuov's exhaustive material is a simple observation: The men of the Taiga are heroes of rugged individualism.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
January 24, 2013
An inspired 94-minute rumination on the hardships and liberties of a remote culture.
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Elizabeth Weitzman
New York Daily News
January 24, 2013
There is indeed much beauty on display, from the icy Taiga landscape to the age-old trapping techniques passed on through generations.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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Noel Murray
AV Club
January 24, 2013
Vasyukov and Herzog are united in their fascination with the particulars of how to thrive in some of the harshest conditions on Earth.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
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Michael Atkinson
Time Out
January 23, 2013
[It's] all interesting and quite Nanook-ish, and the summertime mosquito assault can haunt your dreams. But don't expect the payloads of cosmic irony and mystery Herzog has had occasion to find wherever he goes.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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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.
Top Critic
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
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