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This Happy Breed

This Happy Breed (1944)

tomatometer

No Score Yet...

Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 3
Fresh: 3 | Rotten: 0

audience

78

liked it
Average Rating: 3.9/5
User Ratings: 540

My Rating

Movie Info

Unrated,

Drama, Classics

David Lean, Anthony Havelock-Allan, Ronald Neame

Cast

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All Critics (10) | Top Critics (3) | Fresh (10) | Rotten (0) | DVD (3)

This Happy Breed is Noel Coward's proud and loving tribute to the unbreakable British backbone.

May 1, 2013 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Film's excellence comes mainly in the performances.

February 23, 2012 Full Review Source: Variety
Variety
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Though Lean and Coward are less happy here than in the brittle, refined atmosphere of Brief Encounter, their adventurous excursion into suburban Clapham remains endlessly fascinating.

November 6, 2007 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

While not exacty up to contemporary standards of social realism this domestic saga was ground-breaking in its day and still captivates.

May 1, 2013 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

It's quite the study in domesticity and acceptance, and it even presents socialist activism and union strikes as some sort of idealistic fling...

May 4, 2012 Full Review Source: Turner Classic Movies Online
Turner Classic Movies Online

This Happy Breed ranks with 1949's One Woman's Story and 1950's Madeleine as the most obscure title in David Lean's canon. That's a shame, because it's a wonderful motion picture.

April 25, 2012 Full Review Source: Creative Loafing
Creative Loafing

not a particularly deep film, but it gets the details of human interaction and growth just right, providing a moving portrait of one family's durability in the midst of massive historical upheaval

April 16, 2012 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
Q Network Film Desk

If it doesn't bore you to death with its contrived melodramatics then maybe its decorative historical background might catch your interest.

March 29, 2009 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

This is an immensely charming movie, with many tears and many moments of warmth.

November 6, 2007 Full Review Source: TV Guide's Movie Guide
TV Guide's Movie Guide

A toff propagandist's England, of course. But once you've got over its peculiar patrician tones and bitty structure, there's much to enjoy.

November 6, 2007 Full Review Source: Film4
Film4

Audience Reviews for This Happy Breed

The film is really about the evolution of a country between times of war, set against a families own personal ups and downs. The most dramatic events happen off screen. All deaths happen either off screen and many between different time periods, as do marriages and other "main" events other films would exploit. It captures the constant momentum of life in a very slow and thoughtful manner. Lean and Coward once again make a brilliant team with Lean's direction being the most ingenious counterpart to Coward's words. It sometimes feels not adapted enough from its stage play origins, and sometimes feels a bit too patriotic though it certainly offers up different views from different characters. It shows the constant worries of parents in a supposedly less dangerous time. It works as a very English drama and is powerful in that repressed kind of way. Lean's first use of colour is a triumph and there are some amazingly beautiful moments that will be forever eclipsed by his more obvious epics. The parents wondering back into a room in silence at some tragic news is wonderful cinema.
June 6, 2011
kiriyamakazou

Super Reviewer

Its predictable, but that may be the result of the fact that this kind of decade sprawling melodrama is a lot more common nowadays. You can see the seeds of the type of visual brilliance that David Lean was known for pop up occasionally here and there and Cowards dialogue is always enjoyable.
December 28, 2013
Alec Barniskis

Super Reviewer

Another David Lean, Noel Coward adaption, This Happy Breed follows the life of a suburban family between the two world wars. A two decade long epic this film has great character development and shows marriage, death, abandonment, and the rest of the occasions a family goes through. It has some funny snip bits of dialogue, and I especially like the communist/anarchists discussion. The film is somewhat dry, but it remains touching and relevant.
June 16, 2013
Daniel Dolgin

Super Reviewer

This is a bit of a difficult creature from the other Lean/Coward film 'Brief Encounter' as it focuses on a whole family and is more of an ensemble piece. In many ways it's a precursor to the soaps we see on TV today like Eastenders and Coronation Street in that the main drama are family based and although the film is set between the two wars we don't deal with international affairs. I suppose it's more of a film of its time and seems a bit stilted now but the performances are all good and it's nice seeing Celia Johnson in a different type of role after 'Brief Encounter'. A cosy Sunday afternoon film.
February 29, 2012
David Sayers

Super Reviewer

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