29 user 24 critic

Le Bonheur (1965)

Le bonheur (original title)
Not Rated | | Drama, Romance | 16 May 1997 (USA)
Francois is a young carpenter married with Therese. They have two little children. All goes well, life is beautiful, the sun shines and the birds sing. One day, Francois meets Emilie, they ... See full summary »




On Disc

at Amazon

3 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »
Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

There are two parts to this film: sequences of life in the fishing village of La Pointe Courte (a government inspector's visit, the death of a child) alternate with others following a ... See full summary »

Director: Agnès Varda
Stars: Philippe Noiret, Silvia Monfort
Comedy | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Cleo, a singer and hypochondriac, becomes increasingly worried that she might have cancer while awaiting test results from her doctor.

Director: Agnès Varda
Stars: Corinne Marchand, Antoine Bourseiller, Dominique Davray
Vagabond (1985)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

A young woman's body is found frozen in a ditch. Through flashbacks and interviews, we see the events that led to her inevitable death.

Director: Agnès Varda
Stars: Sandrine Bonnaire, Macha Méril, Stéphane Freiss
Documentary | Biography
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

Agnès Varda explores her memories, mostly chronologically, with photographs, film clips, interviews, reenactments, and droll, playful contemporary scenes of her narrating her story.

Director: Agnès Varda
Stars: Agnès Varda, André Lubrano, Blaise Fournier
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

The intertwined lives of 2 women in 1970's France, set against the progress of the women's movement in which Agnes Varda was involved. Pomme and Suzanne meet when Pomme helps Suzanne obtain... See full summary »

Director: Agnès Varda
Stars: Thérèse Liotard, Valérie Mairesse, Robert Dadiès
Documenteur (1981)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A young French woman, separated from her lover, tries to find a lodging in L.A. for herself and her son.

Director: Agnès Varda
Stars: Sabine Mamou, Mathieu Demy, Lisa Blok-Linson
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

An intimate, picaresque inquiry into French life as lived by the country's poor and its provident, as well as by the film's own director, Agnes Varda. The aesthetic, political and moral ... See full summary »

Director: Agnès Varda
Stars: François Wertheimer, Agnès Varda, Bodan Litnanski
Documentary | Short | History
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A humorous travelogue of the French Riviera.

Director: Agnès Varda
Stars: Roger Coggio, Anne Olivier, Jacopo Nizi
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Jacquot Demy is a little boy at the end of the thirties. His father owns a garage and his mother is a hairdresser. The whole family lives happily and likes to sing and to go to the movies. ... See full summary »

Director: Agnès Varda
Stars: Philippe Maron, Edouard Joubeaud, Laurent Monnier
The Collector (1967)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

A womanizing art dealer and a painter find the serenity of their Riviera vacation disturbed by a third guest, a vivacious bohemian woman known for her long list of male conquests.

Director: Éric Rohmer
Stars: Patrick Bauchau, Haydée Politoff, Daniel Pommereulle
Lola (1961)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Roland Cassard is a young man with no job and seemingly no prospects. By chance, he runs into his former girlfriend, Cecile who works as a dancer at a cabaret under the stage name Lola. She... See full summary »

Director: Jacques Demy
Stars: Anouk Aimée, Marc Michel, Jacques Harden
Short | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Impressions of the rue Mouffetard, Paris 5, through the eyes of a pregnant woman.

Director: Agnès Varda
Stars: Dorothée Blanck, Antoine Bourseiller, André Rousselet


Complete credited cast:
François Chevalier
Claire Drouot ...
Thérèse Chevalier
Olivier Drouot ...
Pierrot Chevalier
Sandrine Drouot ...
Gisou Chevalier
Marie-France Boyer ...
Émilie Savignard
Marcelle Faure-Bertin ...
(as Marcelle Favre-Bertin)
Manon Lanclos
Sylvia Saurel ...
(as Sylvie Saurel)
Marc Eyraud ...
J. Forestier - le frère de François
Christian Riehl
Paul Vecchiali ...


Francois is a young carpenter married with Therese. They have two little children. All goes well, life is beautiful, the sun shines and the birds sing. One day, Francois meets Emilie, they fall in love and become lovers. He still loves his wife and wants to share his new greater happiness with her. Written by Yepok

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Seule, une femme pouvait oser faire ce film


Drama | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »




Release Date:

16 May 1997 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Happiness  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.66 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The movie François and Therese are going to see starring Brigitte Bardot and Jeanne Moreau is Viva Maria! (1965) See more »


Therese states that they can see a new movie with Jeanne Moreau and Brigitte Bardot. That movie would have to be Viva Maria. However, Viva Maria was released in November 1965 while this film was released in February 1965. Therese could not see a movie at that time that wouldn't be released for nine more months. See more »


Émilie Savignard: I love you too. I feel happy. Be happy too, don't worry. I'm free, happy, and you're not the first. Love me.
François Chevalier: Such happiness!
See more »


References Come Blow Your Horn (1963) See more »


Adagio and Fugue in C minor - KV 546
Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

It's hard to tell what Varda had in mind
19 February 2016 | by (Upstate New York) – See all my reviews

Le Bonheur (1965) was shown in the U.S. with the translated title "Happiness." It was written and directed by Agnès Varda.

Jean-Claude Drouot plays François Chevalier, a cheerful, optimistic carpenter. His real-life wife, Claire Drouot, plays his film wife, Thérèse. (Their real-life children play their two children.)

Happiness is not only the title of the movie, it's also the theme of the film. François and Thérèse tell each other over and over that they are happy. Why not? They have a good life, and a good family. They are young, attractive, healthy, and in love.

The only problem is that apparently François isn't as happy as he could be. When he meets a postal clerk, Émilie, he falls in love with her. Émilie is played by Marie-France Boyer who is very beautiful. In the film, she's also very willing. She knows François is married, and that he won't leave his wife. She's apparently OK with that. The rest of the plot moves forward from this point.

I find it surprising that a great woman filmmaker like Varda would have this attitude about infidelity. As another reviewer wrote, she treats women as fungible. (New word for me--it means mutually interchangeable.)

The movie has a very unusual palette. It displays broad patches of primary colors. According to the person who introduced the film, Varda was imitating the women's magazines of the day. They were, indeed, all about finding happiness, and they were illustrated with bold primary colors.

It's hard to know what Varda was thinking when she wrote and directed this movie. Over the last 50 years, many people have tried to correlate the plot of Le Bonheur with Agnès Varda's own concept of happiness. I guess we all get to guess, but who will decide which answer is best?

We saw this movie at the wonderful Dryden Theatre in the George Eastman Museum in Rochester, NY. It's part of a Varda retrospective cosponsored by Rochester Institute of Technology and the Eastman Museum. It was a luxury to see this movie on the large screen. It won't work as well on the small screen, but you might find it worth your while to watch it. It's a film that's hard to pin down, so I don't give it a whole-hearted recommendation. Still, it's part of Varda's oeuvre. If you're a Varda fan, you might want to see it out of a drive for completion.

0 of 0 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Give me the DVD!! Luke Joplin
Is Bill Hader French? Felonious-Punk
Wait, a real family played the family?!?! Felonious-Punk
Discuss Le Bonheur (1965) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: