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The Happiness Thief (2004)

A miserable little girl curses yer younger brother for being so happy. Little did she know that her curse would summon a grotesque figure who, in the darkness of night, would violently ... See full summary »

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1 nomination. See more awards »

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The Happiness Thief
Beans El-Balawi ...
Timmy
Chloe Smyth ...
Emily
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Storyline

A miserable little girl curses yer younger brother for being so happy. Little did she know that her curse would summon a grotesque figure who, in the darkness of night, would violently steal the boy's happiness. Horrified and ridden with guilt, the girl chases the Thief onto the city's rooftops in a desperate attempt to bargain with him. But he is not an easy creature to please Written by Derek Boyes

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Do You Like Magic?

Genres:

Family | Short

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Release Date:

19 May 2004 (France)  »

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Budget:

£14,000 (estimated)
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1.78 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Utterly charming...
1 February 2006 | by See all my reviews

Watching this delightful film, I'm impressed that it checks very few of the boxes currently flooding the short film arena. It's for children, it's sentimental, it's magical, it wouldn't be out of place as an episode of Jim Henson's The Storyteller. There are no gangsters, no single mums on heroin, not a kitchen sink in sight. But a slew of filmmakers, critics and individuals from Stephen Frears to Working Title seem to have fallen under its charms. Frears may have commented playfully about the film being 'ridiculously soppy', but by gum there was a tear in this reviewer's eye by the end.

Boasting the production values of anything Lucas, Henson or Spielberg could come up with – Dickensian houses and cobbled streets just this side of Tim Burton – The Happiness Thief engages by tapping into what makes kids scared to look under the bed at night; the nagging fear that somewhere, lurking along the rooftops is a character you would really rather didn't come down your chimney at Christmas.

Like the best kids' stories, the film balances humour – dark and light – with whimsy and a 'be careful what you wish for' morality tale. The key element on display here in spades, missing from most of the other films in this festival, is sheer enjoyment; that of the audience and clearly of the filmmakers. Here we have a film that sets out to unapologetically entertain and enchant rather than baffle or impress.

Yet impress it does, since it's hard not to care about the film's two charming children and their predicament, as Emily wishes her little brother would shut up and go to sleep and stop being so damn happy… you can imagine what happens next.

The film unfolds in 14 glorious minutes, delighting and disturbing in much the same way as, say, Labyrinth or anything by the Brothers Grimm.

Hyperbole and comparison aside, this is a film that can, and should, be enjoyed on its own merits by everyone from children to overgrown kids. If you can watch this and not be swept along, you've probably already been a victim of the titular villain.


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