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Happiness (1998) More at IMDbPro »

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Happiness -- Three middle-class New Jersey sisters all have their problems with their families and sex lives.


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Up 16% in popularity this week. See why on IMDbPro.
Todd Solondz (written by)
View company contact information for Happiness on IMDbPro.
Release Date:
16 October 1998 (USA) See more »
The lives of many individuals connected by the desire for happiness, often from sources usually considered dark or evil. Full summary » | Full synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
Nominated for Golden Globe. Another 13 wins & 19 nominations See more »
User Reviews:
Dark brilliance See more (494 total) »


  (in credits order) (verified as complete)

Jane Adams ... Joy Jordan

Jon Lovitz ... Andy Kornbluth

Philip Seymour Hoffman ... Allen

Dylan Baker ... Bill Maplewood

Lara Flynn Boyle ... Helen Jordan
Justin Elvin ... Timmy Maplewood

Cynthia Stevenson ... Trish Maplewood
Lila Glantzman-Leib ... Chloe Maplewood

Gerry Becker ... Psychiatrist
Rufus Read ... Billy Maplewood

Louise Lasser ... Mona Jordan

Ben Gazzara ... Lenny Jordan

Camryn Manheim ... Kristina

Arthur J. Nascarella ... Detective Berman

Molly Shannon ... Nancy

Ann Harada ... Kay

Douglas McGrath ... Tom
Eric Marcus ... Courteous Waiter (as Dr. Eric Marcus)
Eytan Mirsky ... Angry Picketer
Lisa Louise Langford ... Radical Picketer
Anne Bobby ... Rhonda

Socorro Santiago ... Crying Teacher
Allison Furman ... Consoling Teacher

Wai Ching Ho ... Student #1
Bina Sharif ... Student #2
Tsepo Mokone ... Student #3

Jared Harris ... Vlad

Dan Moran ... Joe Grasso
Evan Silverberg ... Johnny Grasso

Marla Maples ... Ann Chambeau
Hope Pomerance ... Hysterical Woman

Matt Malloy ... Doctor

Elizabeth Ashley ... Diane Freed
Dan Tedlie ... Don
Marina Gayzidorskaya ... Zhenia (as Marina Gaizidorskia)
Johann Carlo ... Betty Grasso

Joe Lisi ... Police Detective
José Rabelo ... Pedro
Diane Tyler ... Janet
Olga Stepanova ... Zhenia's Mother

Directed by
Todd Solondz 
Writing credits
Todd Solondz (written by)

Produced by
Ted Hope .... producer
Pamela Koffler .... line producer
David Linde .... executive producer
James Schamus .... executive producer
Christine Vachon .... producer
Original Music by
Robbie Kondor 
Cinematography by
Maryse Alberti 
Film Editing by
Alan Oxman 
Casting by
Ann Goulder 
Production Design by
Thérèse DePrez 
Art Direction by
John Bruce 
Set Decoration by
Nick Evans 
Costume Design by
Kathryn Nixon 
Makeup Department
Cyndi Boyar .... additional hair stylist: Florida
Cyndi Boyar .... additional makeup artist: Florida
Nicki Ledermann .... key makeup artist
Kerrie R. Plant .... additional hair stylist
Kerrie R. Plant .... additional makeup artist
Gianna Sparacino .... hair designer
Dina Sliwak .... additional makeup artist as dina sliwiak (uncredited )
Production Management
Ross Katz .... post-production supervisor
Elayne Keratsis .... unit production manager: Florida unit
Eva Kolodner .... unit production manager
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Lucia Burns .... second second assistant director
Cindy Craig .... second assistant director
Jude Gorjanc .... first assistant director
John G. Karliss .... second second assistant director: Florida
Alan Oxman .... second unit director
Art Department
Joshua Barraud .... additional props
Catherine Bayley .... art intern
Nicole Boesch .... art intern
Brian Buteau .... lead set dresser
Margaret Pine Chabowski .... assistant art department coordinator
Andromache Chalfant .... assistant set decorator
Robert de Mar .... carpenter
Matt Duncan .... assistant property master
Makiko Endo .... art intern
Hector M. Gonzalez .... property master: Florida (as Héctor M. González)
Anton Graham .... set dresser
Denise J. Grillo .... additional set dresser
Caroline Handel .... graphic artist
Michael N. Horan .... additional set dresser
Zachary Jasie .... additional set dresser
Chad Johnson .... carpenter
Sara Kugelmass .... assistant set decorator
Joseph Logan .... additional set dresser
Melissa P. Lohman .... additional set dresser
Sam McConnell .... art intern
Stuart Montgomery .... property master
Mike Morrison .... graphic artist
Jutta Osthues .... additional props
Allison Shigo .... art intern
John M. Souto .... assistant art director
Richard Tedesco .... assistant property master
Aaron Ali Tichenor .... additional set dresser
Cory A. Vincent .... assistant props: Florida
Miyuki Yoshihara .... art intern
Sound Department
Michael Barry .... sound re-recording mixer
Laurel Bridges .... boom operator
Neil Danziger .... production sound mixer
Tom Efinger .... supervising sound editor
Curt Finale Hines .... additional boom operator (as Curt Hines)
Jonah Lawrence .... sound designer
Nicholas Montgomery .... foley artist
Betsy Nagler .... additional boom operator
Jaime Reyes .... additional boom operator
Tony V. Stevens .... stereo sound consultant: Dolby
Eric Toline .... additional boom operator
Eric Toline .... boom operator: Florida
Damian Volpe .... sound designer
Jessica Wing .... assistant sound editor
Special Effects by
Drew Jiritano .... special effects
Camera and Electrical Department
Richard Alger .... best boy electric: Florida unit
Joe Arcidiacono .... camera crane operator
Dayvon Baldwin .... fourth grip
Mia Barker .... additional assistant camera
Gus Bechini .... additional electrician
Matt Blades .... additional grip
Bart Blaise .... additional assistant camera
Eric Boncher .... additional electrician
Shaw Hawkins Burrows .... key grip: Florida unit
Gregory Cahill .... best boy grip
Elizabeth Casinelli .... additional electrician (as Libby Casinelli)
Joel Catalano .... grip: Florida unit
Nicolas L. Charuet .... additional grip
Christina Conroy .... additional electrician
Nicole Corre .... additional electrician
Moira Demos .... additional electrician
John Dodgin .... additional electrician
Tom Downey .... additional assistant camera
Jacques H. Durand .... additional grip
Johnny Erbes-Chan .... additional grip
Matthew W. Flannery .... second assistant camera
Joe Foley .... key grip
Raphael Frank .... best boy electric (as Raphie Frank)
Daryl Furr .... third grip
Henny Garunkel .... still photographer
David Dylan Gorn .... additional grip
Raphaelle Gosse-Gardet .... additional electrician
Christopher B. Green .... first assistant camera
David Harges .... additional grip
Nate Havens .... camera production assistant
Nicole Hernandez .... additional electrician
Curt A. Jentsch .... third electrician
David Kaufmann .... additional grip
Alex Kayne .... electrician: Florida unit
Caroline Kazlas .... camera intern
Stephen Kazmierski .... additional photographer
Wolfgang Koslow .... additional electrician
Jonathan Kovel .... additional grip
Tony Krouse .... electrician: Florida unit
Seth F. McAllister .... additional electrician
Guy Morgan .... additional grip
Michael D. North .... grip: Florida unit
Alexa D. O'Brien .... fourth electric
Larry Orvieto .... additional grip
Toshiaki Ozawa .... gaffer
Marcelo Panizza .... additional second assistant camera: Florida
Storn Peterson .... director of photography: second unit
Kate Phelan .... additional electrician
Lance E. Phox .... additional electrician
Steve Ramsey .... additional electrician
Edward Read .... additional grip
Danya Reich .... additional assistant camera
Antonio Rossi .... first assistant camera
August M. Smarra .... electrician: Florida unit
Adam Snyder .... additional grip
Melissa Soltis .... additional assistant camera
Atsushi Takaoka .... additional electrician
John Tanzer .... additional electrician
James Thorne .... additional electrician
John Unger .... best boy grip: Florida
Jonathan Weaver .... first assistant camera
Robert E. White .... second assistant camera: Florida unit
Angela Whitesell .... additional electrician
Casting Department
Byron Crystal .... extras casting
Deborah Maxwell Dion .... casting: children, Los Angeles
Karen E. Etcoff .... extras casting
Rebecca L. Murray .... casting assistant
Costume and Wardrobe Department
Natalya V. Aikens .... assistant costume designer (as Natalya V. Khorover)
Kristy Aitken Hernandez .... wardrobe supervisor: Florida (as Kristy Aitken-Hernandez)
Pamela Kezal .... wardrobe supervisor
Lynn True .... wardrobe assistant
Oliver Wolf Wehner .... wardrobe assistant
Editorial Department
Sean Campbell .... second assistant editor
Charlene Hamer .... first assistant editor
Youna Kwak .... apprentice editor
Noëlle Penraat .... negative cutter
Dave Pultz .... color timer (as David Pultz)
Shelby Siegel .... assistant conforming editor (uncredited)
Music Department
Sam Burtis .... musician: trombone
Dominic Cortese .... musician: accordion
David Diggs .... musician: english horn/oboe
Frank Egan .... assistant music editor
Michael Fumento .... musician: drums, "Happiness"
Erin Futterman .... assistant to music supervisor
Victoria Gross .... music recording engineer
Susan Jacobs .... music supervisor
Robbie Kondor .... score producer/musician: keyboards and pennywhistle
Matthew 'Boomer' La Monica .... music mixing engineer
Richard Locker .... musician: cello
Robert J. Magnuson .... musician: english horn/oboe
Bob Montero .... music production coordinator
Michael Nordberg .... musician: bass, "Happiness"
Sean O'Neal .... musician: keyboards, "Happiness"
Sandra Park .... musician: violin
Mary Rowell .... musician: violin
Larry Saltzman .... musician: guitar and tiple, "Happiness"
Ira Siegel .... musician: guitar
Pamela Sklar .... musician: flute
David Spinozza .... musician: guitar
Roger Squitero .... musician: percussion
Jamey Staub .... music mixer: "Happiness"
Blake Suib .... music Recordist: "Happiness"
Danny Wilensky .... musician: sax & flute
Sharon Yamada .... musician: violin
Bruce White .... viola (uncredited)
Transportation Department
Henry S. Avelin .... transportation captain
Thomas Colavito .... driver
Thomas Crehan .... driver
Roy Fortier .... driver
Gus Hein .... driver: special equipment
Steven Menasian .... driver
Other crew
Ethan Adelman .... cartoonist
Marco Ajello .... additional production assistant
Monique Alderman .... production assistant: Florida unit
Fabio M. Arber .... location manager: Florida unit
Anna Beckman .... cartoonist
Anna Beckman .... office intern
Nadia Benamara .... accounting intern
David Best .... parking production assistant
Susan H. Bodine .... legal services
Richard R. Boudreau .... office intern
Mark Boulos .... office intern
René Brar .... office intern
Andrea F. Cannistraci .... legal services
Stephen Carr .... location assistant
Shannon Causey .... location scout (as Shannon Bowen)
Lee Chabowski .... Helen's poetry
Cory Chew .... completion bond
Myfa Cirinna .... payroll services
Jeremiah Clancy .... production assistant
Alexander Cohen .... additional location assistant
Chris Collins .... additional location assistant
Lisa Collomb .... production assistant: Florida unit
Chloe Conroy .... location coordinator
Ryan Cooke .... additional production assistant
Barbara Cordoves .... production assistant: Florida unit
Justin Crabill .... remote technician
Michael Dallas .... location scout
Debora Degnan O'Neill .... additional production assistant (as Debora Degnan)
Ged Dickersin .... location scout
Kate Eales .... assistant film conformist
Elliot Earle .... craft service: Florida unit
Kent Ehrhardt .... weather report
Kimberly N. Fajen .... production office coordinator
Andrew Federman .... location assistant
Ramsey Fong .... key office production assistant
Lyle Gamm .... graphics coordinator
Nicholas Gansner .... additional production assistant
Alessandro Garuzzo .... office intern
Kelsey J. Geisler .... production assistant
Esther Gould .... office intern
Justine Halliday .... assistant film conformist
Benjamin Harris .... cartoonist
Dean Haspiel .... cartoonist
Gretchen Hatz .... production assistant
Marcee Healy .... production assistant
Matthew Herrick .... cartoonist
Anne-Marie Hess .... office intern
Jeff Hill .... unit publicist
Joyce Hsieh .... production accountant
Jason Tavis Jeffries .... office intern
Brian Johnson .... production assistant: Florida unit
Jon M. Johnson .... parking coordinator
William Johnson .... parking production assistant
George Jones .... parking production assistant
Amanda Katz .... office intern
Charlie Kleinman .... office intern
Elizabeth Klenk .... location scout
Timothy M. Koenig .... security officer
Zhenia Kozlov .... consultant: Russia
Tina Kronis .... production assistant: Florida unit
Brent Lagerman .... additional production assistant
Ben Lauter .... product placement coordinator
Gary Leib .... cartoonist
John Limotte .... legal services
Brenda M. Long .... production assistant: Florida unit
Jeremy Mack .... additional production assistant (as Jeremy 'Bruiser' Mack)
Jonathan McGrath .... additional production assistant
Alan McIntyre Smith .... craft service (as Alan Smith)
Michael Meere .... assistant production accountant
Nathaniel Mendelsohn .... office intern
Jonathan Michals .... office intern
Jennifer Miller .... office intern
Ross Miller .... production insurance
Christie Mullen .... location scout
Rebecca L. Murray .... assistant: Todd Solondz
Vonda G. Nelson .... additional production assistant
Hetakaisa Paarte .... assistant: Ted Hope
Julie Panebianco .... conduit to "Happiness"
Derek Pastures .... parking production assistant
Patricia Claire Pertalion .... additional production assistant
Jessica Piscitelli .... key set production assistant (as Jessica Anne Piscitelli)
Perri Pivovar .... assistant film conformist
David Powers .... additional production mixer
Lynn H. Powers .... location scout
Jimmy Price .... assistant location manager
Phillip Ristaino .... cartoonist
Jose Rodriguez .... office intern
Daniel S. Rogers .... production assistant: Florida unit
Scott Rosenstein .... additional production assistant
Niles Roth .... office intern
Jim Ryan .... cartoonist
Jason E. Sandys .... office intern
Paula Schmidt .... completion bond
Nancy Schwartzman .... assistant: Christine Vachon
Betsy Shankin-Morehouse .... location scout (as Betsy Shankin)
Jessica Sharzer .... office intern
Emily Samantha Sherman .... production office coordinator: Florida unit
Nazgol Shifteh .... office intern
Dan Shotz .... office intern
Shelby Siegal .... assistant film conformist
Margo S. Silver .... office intern
Leah Sokolowsky .... location scout: Florida unit (as Leah Weintraub)
Marion Spiegelman .... completion bond
Brian J. Stapleton .... office intern
Tim Streeto .... post-production picture services
Michael Taylor .... script supervisor
Mimi Turner .... location scout
Al Valentine .... location manager: additional photography
John Verni .... set production assistant: additional photography
Jonathan Waks .... cartoonist
Nicole Walker .... office intern
Shelly Westerman .... film conformist
Thomas J. Whelan .... location manager
Fred Widland .... assistant production office coordinator
Adrienne M. Williams .... production assistant: Florida unit
Jim Williams .... parking production assistant
Robert Wilson .... additional production assistant
Shawn Wilson .... post-production accountant
Maurier Winston .... parking production assistant
Kurt Woolner .... completion bond
Nakako Yamamoto .... dog handler
Jung-Min Yoon .... additional production assistant
Ronald T. Zizmor .... production assistant
Matthew L. Weiss .... additional production assistant (uncredited)
Sandra Bernhard .... special thanks
Jake Myers .... thanks
David W. Schoner Jr. .... special thanks
Crew verified as complete

Production CompaniesDistributorsOther Companies

Additional Details

Also Known As:
134 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.85 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Argentina:18 | Australia:MA (cable rating) | Australia:R (original rating) | Canada:R (Alberta/Nova Scotia/Ontario) | Canada:18A (British Columbia) | Canada:16+ (Quebec) | Chile:18 | Finland:K-16 | France:-12 | Germany:16 | Hong Kong:III | Iceland:16 | Italy:VM18 | Netherlands:12 | New Zealand:R18 | Norway:15 | Portugal:M/18 | Singapore:R21 | Sweden:15 | Switzerland:16 (canton of Geneva) | Switzerland:16 (canton of Vaud) | UK:18 | USA:NC-17 (original rating) (rating surrendered)
Filming Locations:

Did You Know?

In the original screenplay, Bill receives a package after his family leaves him. The package is a bomb, it blows up, killing him.See more »
Factual errors: The number on top of Vlad's taxi is 5C19, while the license plate number is 8H69. On an actual New York City taxi, these numbers would match.See more »
Helen Jordan:It's just I'm... I'm so tired of being admired all the time. All these men I mean... they're all beautiful, artistic minds, great sex, the whole package, but hollow, you know what I mean? I feel nobody's really honest with me. Nobody wants me for me.See more »
Movie Connections:
All Out of LoveSee more »


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38 out of 48 people found the following review useful.
Dark brilliance, 18 March 2005
Author: FilmOtaku ( from Milwaukee, WI

When a film opens with a scene between two people, one breaking up with the other, culminating in the dumped calling the dumper "Shit", you know you're in for something dark with this film. When the scene is followed by the simple opening title "Happiness" written in pretty cursive writing, you know it's going to be ironic as well. "Happiness" was written and directed by Todd Solondz, the mind behind the film "Welcome to the Dollhouse", a film that was fantastic but really hard to watch if the viewer has any kind of heart. "Happiness" follows in the same vein, though this time, instead of centering around one character, Solondz puts a New Jersey family at the center of the film and develops new characters through their relationship with the family.

Overseeing the family is Mona Jordan (Lasser), the matriarch of the family who has just been told by her husband that he no longer loves her. Lenny Jordan (Gazzara) is simply sick of being tied to someone continuously, while insisting that there is "no one else". Joy Jordan (Adams) is a serially employed thirty-something single female who is constantly belittled by her family and ignored by society. She is most close to her sister Trish Maplewood (Stevenson), a stay at home mother with three kids who likes to say she "has it all". Her husband Bill (Baker) is a psychiatrist who outwardly appears to be a stoic family man, but is actually a pedophile who, within five minutes of the introduction of his character, goes to a convenience store to pick up a teen heartthrob magazine so he can masturbate in the back seat of his car to the pictures of the young boys on the cover. The third sister in the family is Helen Jordan (Boyle), an author recently made semi-famous for an angst-ridden published diary (filled with lies) who has a very high opinion of herself and a way of making others feel badly about themselves while never raising her smooth-as-glass voice or making her jabs obvious. Her neighbor Allen (Hoffman) is in love with her, only he is so inept at socialization and unable to approach her that he attempts to satisfy his desires by first making random obscene phone calls to various women, and then making Helen a target herself. Another neighbor, Kristina (Manheim) is an insecure, quiet woman who is constantly trying to befriend Allen, possibly as a love interest.

There is quite a cast of characters to this ensemble picture, and the story lines become intricate and increasingly more complicated as the film progresses. "Happiness" is filled with excellent character actors (at the top of the list would certainly be Hoffman) but the most compelling character and character portrayal would be Baker's character of Bill Maplewood. Obviously, a film that deals unflinchingly with pedophilia and child rape, particularly under the guise of a "dark comedy" is going to be held under closer observation, but even under this scrutiny, Baker's portrayal is absolutely flawless. While his character is a monster, Baker is able to provide a human side to it, where I was left thinking he was a terrible man, but also had sympathy for him because he had a sickness. There are not many actors I can think of that could pull off this role as stupendously as Baker did. Baker was the clear star of the film in my opinion, but the performances of every person in the cast were fantastic as well, particularly the young boy who played Baker's oldest son.

As I stated earlier, "Happiness" is rife with irony because on the surface, everyone is miserable. However, it soon becomes relatively clear that this is just how these people are, and each of them to some extent ARE living in happiness, as misguided as it may appear to be. Everyone ends up being hurt or disappointed on some level, but they are still together and seem to be satisfied to be in the destructively emotional rut they are in. Solondz, who really has his finger on the pulse of misery, (Just like when, upon hearing that Stephen King gets inspiration for his books from his dreams I was glad that he at least makes millions from being terrified at night, I would hate to get a front row seat in Solondz's psyche) really gives the audience something to chew with "Happiness". I loved the chances he took with the subject matter, I loved the performances, and I loved the film as a whole because it was just so damn well done. It's not an easy film to watch, and it's not an entirely pleasant one to watch at times, but it is truly a piece of genius with the way it is intricately put together; envision trying to glue tiny shards of crystal into place with a tweezers – the characters in "Happiness" are as fragile and ready to shatter at any moment, whether they can see it for themselves or not. 8/10 --Shelly

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Best feel-good movie of all time Peatval
Not as nasty or mean-spirited as many would have you believe (Spoilers) Heywood_Jablomie
Children can handle this film kentgrammel2
Funniest scene/line? solitary_bun
i hate this film moosepie
What did Helen expect? JHHster
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