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William Allen Young
A physics professor approaching middle age decides to change his life with unexpected results. A rising young prosecuting attorney's plans are thrown into disarray as the result of a single careless act while distracted. A woman reluctantly faces her husband's infidelity. An envious insurance claims manager with family problems seeks revenge on a cheerful coworker, but has second thoughts. And an optimistic young cleaning woman awaits a miracle, only to have her faith shaken by a traumatic event. These ordinary people all find themselves asking the fundamental question philosophers have pondered throughout history: What is happiness, and how does one achieve it? Written by
A Terrific Ensemble in a Provocative Conversation Starter
My wife and I launched immediately into a conversation about this film before the end credits had even finished rolling. It's the kind of film that makes you want to apply some of its ideas and themes to your own life and experiences.
At first I was worried. When the film began, I thought it was going to be an episodic experimental piece, with 13 different scenes each dealing with an aspect of happiness. This bothered me, because the first segment of the film left me wanting more of the same story and I would have been disappointed if the screenplay had never come back to it. However, the first few segments that seem at first to be unrelated begin to mesh in a fluid way (but never in a way that feels forced), and what happens in one begins to illuminate the actions and feelings in another.
Because of it's episodic nature, the actors don't get a lot of room to flesh out their characters, but the performances are still strong. Alan Arkin is especially good (he always is).
This one comes highly recommended.
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