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Happiness (1998)

 |  Comedy, Drama  |  16 October 1998 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 52,754 users   Metascore: 81/100
Reviews: 497 user | 146 critic | 30 from

The lives of many individuals connected by the desire for happiness, often from sources usually considered dark or evil.



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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 13 wins & 19 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Justin Elvin ...
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Detective Berman


When a young woman rejects her current overweight suitor in a restaurant, he unexpectedly places a curse on her. The film then moves on to her sisters. One is a happily married woman with a psychiatrist husband and three kids. Unfortunately the husband develops an unnatural fascination for his 11 year old son's male classmates, fantasizes about mass killing in a park, and masturbates to teen magazines. One of his patients has an unrequited fascination for the third sister. Meanwhile the apparently stable 40 year marriage of the sister's parents suddenly unravels when he decides he has had enough and wants to live a hermit's life in Florida. Obviously, the whole movie is slightly warped in its viewpoint and certainly presents abnormal relationships among all of its parties. Written by John Sacksteder <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Comedy | Drama


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Release Date:

16 October 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Todd Solondz's Untitled  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$3,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$30,230 (USA) (9 October 1998)


£365,332 (UK) (7 May 1999)

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


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References Ms .45 (1981) See more »


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User Reviews

A compelling watch, which will both amuse and seriously disturb
3 April 2001 | by (lancashire England) – See all my reviews

Happiness - which centres around the lives of three sisters - Joy who's permanently unlucky in love, Helen a successful poet whose next door neighbour is obsessed with her and phones to explain this in graphic detail and finally there's Trish who has it all, a big house, a couple of kids and a successful psychiatrist husband who himself harbours uncontrollable urges.

The sisters are all somewhat fractured of mind - for example Lara Flyn Boyle's character plays an author suffering writers block bemoaning the fact that she wasn't abused as a child that could lend her work some authenticity

  • so she's delighted when she gets an obscene phone from a one of the

many fat ugly sex obsessed dysfunctioning American neurotics that seem to be this seasons slim sexy movie star successes. Happiness manages to be truly provocative and also madly comical at one and the same time... for instance I never thought I could feel sympathy for a paedophile or a bloke making obscene phone calls but with tact and courage Happiness confronts these modern folk devils.

Happiness is anything but; as the characters lives intertwine in the search for happiness they find only loneliness, obsession and some serious psychological problems. In particular the psychiatrists story is remarkable with performances second to none as he tries to explain to his son about his paedophile tendencies.

Happiness explodes some of the fear related misconceptions showing that repression is the oppression of our generation... as if an open mind is just that. Open and willing for some perverted notion to crawl right in...

Directed by Todd Solondz Happiness is a slice of American life that isn't normally dealt with this honesty, making it a compelling watch, which will both amuse and seriously disturb for its two hours and fifteen minutes running time. Happiness is a must see.

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