Up 302 this week

Happiness (1998)

 |  Comedy, Drama  |  16 October 1998 (USA)
Your rating:
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
Ratings: 7.8/10 from 53,270 users   Metascore: 81/100
Reviews: 497 user | 147 critic | 30 from Metacritic.com

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



Watch Trailer
0Check in

Watch Now

From $3.99 on Amazon Video

Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 11 wins & 22 nominations. See more awards »



Learn more

People who liked this also liked... 

Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Insightful look at an unattractive 7th grader as she struggles to cope with un-attentive parents, snobbish classmates, a smart older brother, an attractive younger sister, and her own insecurities.

Director: Todd Solondz
Stars: Heather Matarazzo, Christina Brucato, Victoria Davis
Storytelling (2001)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

College and high school serve as the backdrop for two stories about dysfunction and personal turmoil.

Director: Todd Solondz
Stars: Selma Blair, Leo Fitzpatrick, Robert Wisdom
Palindromes (2004)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Aviva is thirteen, awkward and sensitive. Her mother Joyce is warm and loving, as is her father, Steve, a regular guy who does have a fierce temper from time to time. The film revolves around her family, friends and neighbors.

Director: Todd Solondz
Stars: Jennifer Jason Leigh, Ellen Barkin, Stephen Adly Guirgis
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Friends, family, and lovers struggle to find love, forgiveness, and meaning in a war-torn world riddled with comedy and pathos.

Director: Todd Solondz
Stars: Shirley Henderson, Allison Janney, Ally Sheedy
Dark Horse (2011)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  

Romance blooms between two thirty-somethings in arrested development: an avid toy collector who is the dark horse of his family and a depressed woman on the rebound.

Director: Todd Solondz
Stars: Jordan Gelber, Selma Blair, Christopher Walken
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

Ira is a nervous playwright waiting and hoping to succeed with his art, which he takes it very seriously. But following his dreams and ambitions isn't something easy to do, specially when ... See full summary »

Director: Todd Solondz
Stars: Todd Solondz, Max Cantor, Alexandra Gersten
Ghost World (2001)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

With only the plan of moving in together after high school, two unusually devious friends seek direction in life. As a mere gag, they respond to a man's newspaper ad for a date, only to find it will greatly complicate their lives.

Director: Terry Zwigoff
Stars: Steve Buscemi, Thora Birch, Scarlett Johansson
Gummo (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Lonely residents of a tornado-stricken Ohio town wander the deserted landscape trying to fulfill their boring, nihilistic lives.

Director: Harmony Korine
Stars: Nick Sutton, Jacob Sewell, Lara Tosh
Funny Games (1997)
Crime | Drama | Horror
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Two psychotic young men take a mother, father, and son hostage in their vacation cabin and force them to play sadistic "games" with one another for their own amusement.

Director: Michael Haneke
Stars: Susanne Lothar, Ulrich Mühe, Arno Frisch
Kids (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

A day in the life of a group of teens as they travel around New York City skating, drinking, smoking, and deflowering virgins.

Director: Larry Clark
Stars: Leo Fitzpatrick, Justin Pierce, Chloë Sevigny
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

A theatre director struggles with his work, and the women in his life, as he creates a life-size replica of New York City inside a warehouse as part of his new play.

Director: Charlie Kaufman
Stars: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Samantha Morton, Michelle Williams
Irreversible (2002)
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  

Events over the course of one traumatic night in Paris unfold in reverse-chronological order as the beautiful Alex is brutally raped and beaten by a stranger in the underpass.

Director: Gaspar Noé
Stars: Monica Bellucci, Vincent Cassel, Albert Dupontel


Cast overview, first billed only:
Justin Elvin ...
Lila Glantzman-Leib ...
Rufus Read ...
Lenny Jordan
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 <jsackste@bellsouth.net>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Comedy | Drama


See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






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
See  »

Did You Know?


James Urbaniak auditioned for the role of Allen. See more »


The level of wine in each person's glass changes between shots during the final scene. See more »


Bill: Have you tried playing with yourself?
Billy Maplewood: You mean...?
Bill: With your penis?
Billy Maplewood: A little.
Bill: How did it feel?
Billy Maplewood: I don't know? I don't know what to do.
Bill: Do you want me to, uh... show you?
See more »


References The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (1992) See more »


You Light Up My Life
Performed by Montovani
Written by Joe Brooks
Courtesy of Pair Records
By special arrangement with Passport International
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

10 September 2004 | by (Virginia) – See all my reviews

There are only a handful of films that have a distinct polarizing affect on the audience--A Clockwork Orange, The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover, and I would even lump in American Beauty--these are movies you either get, or you don't. And if you don't get it, you will hate it. Open minded viewers need only apply, and that's certainly the case with "Happiness." I remember leaving the theater absolutely shocked, and not just because of the events on screen. I was shocked that I found the movie so intelligent and oddly entertaining. The actors surely must have felt that, after reading the screenplay. And there are some big actors in this--veterans like Ben Gazzara, Louise Lasser, Elizabeth Ashley, mixing with new talent like Philip Seymour Hoffman, Camryn Manheim, Dylan Baker, Lara Flynn Boyle, etc.

The subject matter is truly unsettling--a parental figure, respected in his community, does some horrible things, and this is the main reason why so many people have a hard time with this movie. Did this material really need to be examined in modern cinema? Well, yes--in the same way that David Lynch had to explore it in Blue Velvet. Happiness is a masterpiece of irony (even in the title), and finds humor in the most unusual and downright bizarre circumstances. You will not see another movie like it. Guaranteed. And fair warning--you could very well despise it. And it's probably a fair estimate that its writer/director, Todd Solondz, doesn't give a damn.

179 of 223 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Children can handle this film kentgrammel2
Funniest scene/line? solitary_bun
i hate this film moosepie
If you loved this film and are looking for another dark comedy project.. auduntverfjell
Best feel-good movie of all time Peatval
Discuss Happiness (1998) on the IMDb message boards »

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: