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Happiness (1998)

 -  Comedy | Drama  -  16 October 1998 (USA)
7.8
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 48,415 users   Metascore: 81/100
Reviews: 489 user | 142 critic | 30 from Metacritic.com

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

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Title: Happiness (1998)

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

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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Justin Elvin ...
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Lila Glantzman-Leib ...
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Psychiatrist
Rufus Read ...
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Lenny Jordan
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Detective Berman
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Nancy
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Storyline

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

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

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Details

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Release Date:

16 October 1998 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Todd Solondz's Untitled  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$3,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£83,998 (UK) (16 April 1999)

Gross:

£365,332 (UK) (7 May 1999)
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Company Credits

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Jack Black was considered for the role of Allen. See more »

Goofs

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

Quotes

Billy Maplewood: [sobbing] ... would you ever fuck me?
Bill: No... I'd jerk off instead.
[sobs]
See more »

Connections

Featured in SexTV: SexTV: Uncovered (2005) See more »

Soundtracks

Soave sia il vento from Cosi Fan Tutte
Written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Performed by Orchestra of the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Montserrat Caballé (as Montserrat Caballe),
Janet Baker, and Richard Van Allan
Conducted by Colin Davis (as Sir Colin Davis)
Courtesy of Phillips Records
By Arrangement with PolyGram Film & TV Music
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Solondz is one of the best American directors working today. Period.
8 April 2002 | by (Ohio, USA) – See all my reviews

I don't want to waste time analyzing the plot since others have covered it so well... Basically here we have a Robert Altman-esqe pastiche of characters stemming from a seemingly normal family, plus others who come into their lives. Solondz sets them up and examines their lives, their dreams, their interactions and their facades. What's important is that he doesn't JUDGE these people. And even more importantly, he doesn't condescend to his audience. Like it or not, the people in this movie do exist and I think viewers instantly realize that.

This movie stirs up such strange emotions. It's tough to admit that we may have something in common with a Suburban pedophile, a pathetic dreamer, a pretentious literary snob or a obscene telephone sex stalker and one of the most frightening ideas ever put on film is here: Solondz makes plausible the people we view as being "sick" or generally look down upon aren't that much different than us. They still want the same things we do. And he also questions the ideals America seems to hold most dear, like monogamy and morality. And yeah, happiness. How exactly DO you find happiness? Is ANYONE really happy?

I cannot recommend HAPPINESS enough (neither can I with the director's equally impressive and incisive WELCOME TO THE DOLLHOUSE). It's just an extraordinary movie; surprisingly funny, intelligent, brutally honest, powerful, original and relevant. The cast is thoroughly excellent and Solondz follows his own compass at all times in both the scripting and directing department. He's a brave filmmaker and I really have a lot of admiration for directors and writers who stray away from the tired Hollywood blockbuster formula. Good for some popcorn, sure, but aren't you glad there's other stuff out there to choose from?

Reading some of the other reviews posted here I was surprised at the amount of negative comments. I guess this isn't for everyone out there. If you want a fun night of fantasy escapism or a brainless comedy, don't bother. But if you want a blisteringly funny dose of reality, then don't miss this! Definitely a top contender for My 10 Favorite Movies of the 1990s list.


77 of 97 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Message Boards

Recent Posts
Where did you guys find this movie? pyrodragon2000-1
One of only two movies I have ever walked out of drlawyer
If you enjoyed this movie you are a sick, demented, despicable freak. Battle-Axe
Why was Billy crying at the end of the conversation with his father? jessicahalicki
Did anyone find this film uplifting? banddirector23
i hate this film moosepie
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