Frygtelig lykkelig (2008) Poster

User Reviews

Add a Review
23 ReviewsOrdered By: Helpfulness
Danish Film Noir Psychological Thriller Deftly Redefines Creepy!
KissEnglishPasto18 October 2013
Warning: Spoilers
.............................................................from Pasto,Colombia...Via: L.A. CA., CALI, COLOMBIA and ORLANDO, FL

NO SPOILERS HERE! My wife, Carmen, and I saw 11 films at the 2009 Orlando Film Festival. Three TITLES were truly exceptional: HERE and THERE, The CRIMSON MASK and TERRIBLY HAPPY. This Danish film noir/psychological thriller deftly redefines Creepy.

Others have compared HAPPY to several films. From the depths of the ID comes this relatively obscure comparative reference: Think DEAD and BURIED (1981)...sans Zombies! If you like predictable, you most definitely don't want to watch HAPPY. Each and every time HAPPY comes to an A) B) C) or D) multiple-choice crossroads juncture pivotal point, it consistently offers the viewer NONE Of The ABOVE as the appropriate thread option!

At the heart of HAPPYs appeal: A deliciously intriguing and universally cross-cultural screenplay/story by Director Henrik Ruben Genz and Dunja Gry Jensen. Hearsay has it Copenhagen cop Robert (Jakob Cedergren, in an amazing but tautly low-key characterization) completely lost it a few months back when he caught his wife in bed with his partner/best friend. He drew his service hand-gun, waved it around threateningly at the philandering pair, but never really got beyond a little saber-rattling...Except for firing off a round into the ceiling. This was enough for 3 months treatment in a loony bin.

Upon release, the force prudently decided it best to send Robert to the apparently idyllic small, out of the way, town of Skarrild, far from the Capital, where Nothing ever happens! A bit slow-moving at the onset, HAPPY soon dishes out one plot twist after another. When it isn't creeping you out...Happy is busy pulling the rug out from under your proverbials! With great ensemble performances, this little Danish film comes highly recommended...Just be forewarned: The ONLY TERRIBLY HAPPY people associated with this production are the viewers!


Any comments, questions or observations, in English o en Español, are most welcome!
13 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
How you gonna keep a boy on the bog…
fnorful29 April 2009
This was one of my top 5 films at the 33rd Cleveland International Film Festival.

In the introductory narrative we are told that "all the events are true". A short story is told of how a cow was stuck in the bog, dug out 6 months later and gave birth to a two-headed calf (one human, one bovine). This sad animal causes distress to the town and is put back into the bog.

Well. We may not know where this is going, but it's sure to be interesting.

Robert (Jakob Cedergren) has a troubled past in Copenhagen and is re-assigned to a remote Danish town, where he is quickly embroiled in its odd business. Does Jorgen (Kim Bodnia), the local force to be reckoned with, actually beat his wife Ingerlise (Lene Maria Christensen)? Is that why their daughter takes her dolly for a walk in the evening, with the squeaky wheel heard by all in the village? Why is the bicycle shop deserted, but the music blaring?

And what is in the bog?

The theme of the small town that runs by its own rules is well presented here. No one wants to get the "big city" involved. Abuse is known but ignored. The Marshall fits in in that everyone seems to have a secret in this town. A twisted ethic exists in just what needs to be done, whether the Marshall is supposed to punch out a pre-teen shoplifter (if he doesn't, Dad Jorgen will), you are supposed to say "mohn" instead of the usual Danish word for hello, the doctor supplies narcotics to the hairdresser/call-girl, and your clothes need to be put on the line to dry in a just-so order. And what do you do about the abused wife, who may just be playing her version of crazy with the newest Marshall?

The various plot twists, the machinations of the local card-playing cabal looking for a new fourth, the (lovely) cat who says "mohn": all provide fit companions to the Bog. The Bog is metaphor here as a place where secrets reside, the past sometimes remains hidden and the future lies in wait. The bog is as much a character as the townspeople and the townspeople are the bog.

The film alternates between disquieting views of the flat fields and frenetic twists (big and small) in the plot. I could not imagine a single scene being left out. Lovely and tense, this Euro-Noir film is well acted and well filmed; a good bet for those who like quirky and creepy.
21 out of 30 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Danish Coen Brothers
corrosion-217 October 2008
Terribly Happy is a stylish Danish noir based on actual events. It's a classic "fish out of water" story. Robert (Jakob Cedergren ),a police officer is sent from Copenhagen to a small Danish village as its new Marshall. He soon finds that the village people have their own set of rules and laws and are not ready to accept outside interference with their coda of justice. Although at first Robert tries to play everything by the book, he is soon drawn deeply into the villagers' web of deceit and corruption.

The director Henrik Ruben Genz creates a very bleak atmosphere set against the Danish countryside. The film is full of black humor, reminiscent of Coen Brothers, specially Fargo. The casting is particularly good, with Kim Bodnia outstanding as a wife beating lout. Terribly Happy is tightly directed and is gripping from start to finish. Recommended.
41 out of 64 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Terribly pleased
chapsmack30 June 2009
Nicely done. I am glad I picked this one out. Kind of movie you'd like to watch on a lazy moody afternoon. It will perk up your interest and will get you ready for the evening! Trust me you won't get bogged down! The film is set in a bleak Fargoesque landscape and begins to build up slowly. I found a couple of situations in the plot that could be a bit far-fetched and probably could have been done better but this doesn't affect the overall quality of the film. Even with a low budget the director has come up with a remarkable suspenseful and to an extent, a film with a moral. So go on, get some pop-corn on and get settled in your favorite spot. Go out for a beer later - preferably the local beer joint!
19 out of 28 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Terribly Happy - A Fine & Mellow Productions of a terribly dark comedy - hopelessly helplessly so
Ruby Liang (ruby_fff)26 February 2010
Did I say comedy? You certainly wouldn't feel that it is until you walk out of the theater and just might break into a smile, realizing how funny 'Terribly Happy' it all is. That's rather brilliant of the screenplay and direction. It's 'Fine & Mellow' productions, ha, indeed. This Danish dark comedy may not be everyone's cup of tea - there are terrible things happening throughout the movie that are not pleasing by normal social standards: mysterious disappearance of persons, deaths (or murders?), battered wife, neglected child, child striker and wife beater, imposing town bully, neighbors who are in the know and do nothing to help (so it seems). It's an uncomfortable community of a small rural town to find oneself in. Well, that's where Robert got dropped off at the beginning of the story.

The plot thickens as you watch our central character, Robert Hanson (played by Jakob Cedergren, convincingly deadpan), a city cop from Copenhagen 'banished for atonement' to Skarrild, a small provincial town with an ill-fated cow with two-heads legend as we, the viewers, are informed at the very onset of the film. "The following is based on a true story" flashed on screen in passing. We're introduced to our town flirt furtively disturbed, Mrs. Ingelise Buhl (played by Lene Maria Christensen, appealingly oversexed). The town bully and constant drunk in his cowboy hat, Jørgen Buhl (played by Kim Bodnia, menacingly ill-natured). And the cast of the key townsfolk: the doctor - Dr. Zerlang (played by Lars Brygmann, calculatingly all-knowing), the card game players including the general store owner, and the bar regulars, the lady bartender, not forgetting the lady hairdresser, and little Dorthe, Ingelise's daughter (played by Mathilde Maack in silent plight), who often pushes her pram with squeaky foreboding noise on the streets of Skarrild. Yes, all sorts of predicament and dilemma Robert very soon discovers, yet half-truth, never fully revealed by the townsfolk or party involved, let alone the doctor, who may very well be the town mayor discreet, holding all the cards (a literal pun). Secrets, more back-story continuously unraveling.

Writer-director Henrik Ruben Genz, based on the novel by his childhood friend, Erling Jepsen (a best-selling Danish author), delivered a noir thriller in dark comedy form all at once. Sheer talent! The film title is unquestionably befitting. It could be: How to deal with a town bully? Or: How to get your ideal town marshal? 'Terribly Happy' - the two choice words together simply take the cake. (A climatic sequence definitely did justice to the 'happy' and the 'terrifyingly tense' moments simultaneously experienced). "Terribly Happy" indisputably worth your while. Hopelessly helplessly with quiet glee. After all, it's a fine and mellow Skarrild community, why wouldn't Robert want to hang around and be their perfect marshal?

Note: Director Genz's statement and interview, author Jepsen's statement, can be viewed from the Press Kit accessible online at ""
9 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Terribly Happy: Odd title, good film
johno-2120 January 2009
I recently saw this at the 2009 Palm Springs International Film Festival. from writer/director Henrik Ruben Genze based on the novel by Erling Jepsen is a dark and quirky crime story set in a small rural Danish village where everybody knows everything about everyone and they live and die by their own unique code of justice. Robert (Jakob Cedergren) is a cop from the city who has been reassigned as the town marshall because of a mental breakdown he suffered and he has to stay in the demotion until he can work his way back onto the force back in the the city. He immediately discovers the odd and unwelcome clannish ways of border town community and meets Ingerlise (Lena Maria Christiansen), the abused wife of the town bully Jorgen (Kim Bodnia). This is a psychological thriller with suspense and dark comedy woven together in a story that is almost Stephen King-like. The moody cinematography from Jorgen Johansson is excellent and the film moves at a slow pace but never drags down and keeps your interest throughout. I would give this an 8.5 out of 10 and recommend it.
18 out of 29 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Serious joking in South Jutland
Chris Knipp13 February 2010
The ironically titled Danish film 'Terribly Happy' is the tale of a cop sent to serve as local Marshall in a remote border town in South Jutland called Skarrild that doesn't need cops or have much use for them. It's a place where nothing much happens. Ha! Well -- that's what they say. This part of the country, you don't know if you're coming or going. People use the same monosyllable, "Mojn" (pronounced "moyn") to say both "hello" and "goodbye." Men of few words, they are, these boozy locals, who like to settle scores their way, not "by the book." Klepto kids are just boxed brutally on the ears and sent packing. There's a bog that swallows up junk, sometimes a cow, maybe some darker secrets. This place is insular, mysterious, and weird. And a bog, like a pistol, once introduced, must be used.

'Frygtelig lykkelig' (it sounds funnier in Danish) has its own rhythm and momentum, and a snappy style including a sound design that's sometimes explosive, sometimes ironic. The film's consistently effective, and has a unique feel, though at times its hodgepodge of genres and stylistic borrowings evokes Coen brothers (especially 'Blood Simple') and David Lynch work as it would be if the American auteurs had filmed in Danish in consultation with Aki Kaurismaki. A mix of psychological thriller, horror story, and neo-noir, it moves fast but also manages to take the time necessary to also be a mood piece in which the town vies with the cop for the role of protagonist.

Here are the outlines, but the details have to be omitted because it's all in the surprises and twists. Robert Hansen (Jakob Cedergren) is the policeman from Copenhagen sent out here because he's had a mental breakdown some time ago. He has, shall we say, anger issues. "You're working your way up?" somebody says. Again: ha! He's in serious limbo. He looks convincing in his police uniform and has a modicum of leading man looks. But then again there's something a bit fuzzy about him too -- something a bit lost. He misses an estranged or divorced wife back home, and repeatedly tries to call her and a little daughter, but without results. He has messed up in some way, and this is a punishment assignment.

Like many noir heroes, Robert comes on the scene already in trouble and immediately gets into more. A pretty but dicey blond called Ingerlise Buhl (Lene Maria Christensen), appears, saying her husband Jørgen (Kim Bodnia) has beaten her. She barges in on Robert the way many a dubious babe has appeared on a hapless noir detective's doorstep. It's not so much a domestic squabble complaint as an attempted seduction -- and instant jeopardy for Robert. He can't ignore Ingerlise but there's no safe way to deal with her. The local rule against outside "by the book" punishments is compounded by the fact that Jørgen turns out to be a scary dude, the town bully; also a man said to have fathered a number of children around town.

The only kids we see are shoplifters corralled by the local grocer, whom Robert learns to smack as instructed rather than book (the kids, that is, not the grocer). And then there's the well-dressed Dorothe (Mathilde Maack), Ingerlise and Jørgen's little girl, who's often seen creepily pushing a big baby carriage around the town's empty, haunted streets with her teddy bear inside. It seems when bad stuff begins at home, she escapes by pushing the carriage. Funnily enough rumor has it she's not Jørgen's. You just don't know, around here.

Genz toys with the unexpected in ways that transcend the film's various genres. These include the Western too, since Jørgen wears a ten-gallon hat and, as odd and menacing at times as Dennis Hopper's bad guy in 'Blue Velvet,' he winds up in a "shoot out" against Robert. Only, in truly Danish style, the shots exchanged are of whiskey, alternating with chugged bottles of beer. (Another bar regular's face is a dead ringer for Hopper's.)

Robert's an outsider but it's never fully clear whether Skarrild wants to exclude him or lock him in forever as one of theirs. His tarnished rep appeals to them because the town's own morals are generally shaky. There's a running card game of the self-declared "quack" Dr. Zerlang (Lars Brygmann) and other local fixtures want Robert for a fourth at the card table. "Everyone knows everything but says nothing" about you in this town, is the rule, and so they know Robert's secrets when he arrives and soon know more in the nightmare Ingerlise and Jørgen force upon him, which he may eventually resolve, or make worse; he must let the town decide. The town has the last laugh, but so do we.

Adapted from a novel by Erling Jepsen,'Terribly Happy' has been richly rewarded in Denmark for its skillful direction, cinematography, writing, and acting. Henrik Ruben Genz obviously had fun making this. It probably didn't hurt much that both he and Erling Jepsen are from the South Jutland region.
9 out of 13 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
If you like the Coen Brothers check this out
ThreeGuysOneMovie3 June 2012
Warning: Spoilers
How would you like to watch a Danish film noir/classic western with some elements of a good twilight zone episode tossed in for good measure? Intrigued yet? Well you should be, director Genz's film Terribly Happy is such a fun watch, it will almost make you forget your reading subtitles. While part of the wave of Scandinavian imports to resonate with American Audiences recently, like the films Troll Hunter, Let the Right One In and the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Terribly Happy is its own unique beast.

Robert (Jakob Cedergren) is a police officer from Denmark, that has been reassigned to a small Danish hamlet. Robert is sent to serve a penance after making some mistakes in Copenhagen. South Jutland where Robert finds himself is a spartan land, filled with bogs, mud, cows and rubber boots. The local townspeople welcome Robert with less than open arms. It appears South Jutland is a town where people take care of their own, it's a rural one bar, one shop, one doctor place where everyone knows everyone elses business yet keeps to themselves.

The first friendly face Robert sees is that of Ingerlise (Lene Maria Christensen), the wife of the local bully Jorgen (Kim Bodnia). Ingerlise confides in Robert that she is being abused, but she is reluctant to do anything about her situation. The townspeople are well aware what is going on in town, but have their own views of both Ingerlise and Jorgen. Will Robert compromise his own moral compass to fit in with the town provincial societal norms?

Director Genz creates a dark intimidating atmosphere that permeates every inch of the screen. The characters are multidimensional leaving you to question and reassess their motivations and actions as the film progresses. The blending of several classic genres, western, noir and dark comedy, is achieved in no small part to the wonderful dialogue, and cinematography in the film. The characters seem real, albeit exceedingly creepy and your sense of right and wrong will be put to the test.

There has been a lot of talk of remaking this film in the United States. Director Genz has signed on for the project, however details about the project seems to have dried up since early in 2010. It's interesting to note that Terribly Happy is supposedly based on a true story. Novel writer, and eccentric Erling Jepsen claims the story is based on a distant aunt and uncle. If you get a chance check out the bonus features, to watch an amazing interview with Genz and Jespen, where Jespen slaps Genz several times causing him to walk out of the interview.

Fans of the Coen Brothers films, David Lynch, and modern film noir in general will find a lot to enjoy about Terribly Happy. The film is a dark and memorable addition to the fine films that have been coming from Scandinavia in recent years. Upon viewing its easy to see why the film was nominated for, and claimed so many international film festival awards. Head on down to South Jutland and give Terribly Happy a watch just don't forget to bring your rubber boots and a loaded pistol.

Like what you see here? Then check out our full site at
4 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
You're our man now.
lastliberal16 July 2010
It is happening again. A film is a hit and Hollywood remakes it. Watch the original before they do that.

Henrik Ruben Genz directs this film (and will direct the remake) that has been compared to a Coen brothers film. The synopsis is simple - Hot Fuzz in Danish, but a noir, not a comedy, even though it is funny at times.

Jakob Cedergren was great as the cop sent to a small town for his transgressions, and who got himself into a bigger mess with Lene Maria Christensen. She was also extremely good, as was her husband, played by Kim Bodnia.

What a great ending!
7 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
After Viewing I was not Terribly Impressed.
dfwforeignbuff14 July 2010
Terribly Happy (Frygtelig lykkelig) This Danish Noir Crime film was one of the nominees for best Oscar foreign film 2009 83rd Oscars. It did not win. It is based on the novel by Erling Jepsen. This dark & quirky crime story is set set in a small rural Danish village called Skarrild a town that hides as many secrets as the nearby bog. This Locale is in the only part of Denmark that actually has land adjoining Europe. (the rest are islands) Skarrild South Jutland area is a boggy low lying area north of Germany where the water level is very low. Robert (Jakob Cedergren) has a troubled past in Copenhagen & is re-assigned to a remote Danish town, where he is quickly embroiled in its odd business. Essentially the story of a policeman working punishment duty in the provinces. This dark comedy is reminiscence of Fargo & subject matter is racy with child abuse murder abuse of power wife beating drinking drugs etc. The film is effective, & has a unique feel, though at times it is hodgepodge of genres & stylistic borrowings. The plot (& characters) felt flat & lifeless. The film just did not have the artistic hook that really grabbed me. (Compared to films by fellow Finland director Aki Kaurismaki) The film dour & deadpan film noir but it just did not involve excite or intrigue me. All told heart the film plays like a classic Western: the frontier town, the local bad man, the new marshal, the townspeople, the cute & vulnerable heroine, Ingelise. I hate westerns. Or is this a horror movie?? No is not a horror movie but a comic, ironic witty, well constructed psychological thriller. It still did not make on impression on me. As the story narrows into an increasingly desperate cat-&-mouse game played by Robert & Jorgen following a lethal accident, "Terribly Happy" becomes an allegory of human frailty & corruption, of loneliness & the need to belong. If that makes the movie sound depressingly weighty IT IS. How far will you go to have a sense of belonging? 3 stars
5 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
film noir with twists and satisfying ending
filmalamosa8 January 2012
This film gets a 10 for uniqueness and the ending.

A cop who had a nervous breakdown is posted to a small town (in Denmark) a small town where everyone knows everyone else's business and they have their own justice system--that extends further than you would imagine.

A wife beater and his wife are dealt with effectively.

A film noir with a satisfying end although I hate to think what happened with the bicycle shop owner.

Good entertainment for adults...

Recommend it highly.
3 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Hardly terrible and dreadfully happy.
Its as if David Lynch has directed a unique, psychological thriller/western that oddly develops on the soggy plains of Copenhagen. "Terribly Happy" is a relentless and expressionless film noir, and may be the best pseudo-western that Denmark has ever sent our way. The plot nudges us to laugh at things that aren't funny, except they are, because we're not that hapless schmuck doing precisely the thing he shouldn't do in the exactly the wrong town.

The setting is a remote Danish burg that's as bleak and crummy as most of its residents. Robert (Jakob Cedergren) is a Copenhagen police officer who transfers to a small provincial town to fill the position of the mysteriously vacated Marshall. He wants to be the good guy, but the citizens have their own ways of dispensing justice, and besides, there's a skeleton in Robert's closet - he's been in trouble, and his new assignment is a kind of banishment. The townspeople are a gallery of surly grotesques living in fear of the town bully, Jørgen (Kim Bodnia), who habitually beats his wife, Ingelise (Lene Maria Christensen).

She shows Robert her bruises and scars, and comes on to him. She wants his help and then doesn't want it - she's one confused woman. We don't know who's telling the truth, and neither does Robert, who is advised to look the other way. Of course, he doesn't. Opportunities for compromise abound. Robert's big city temperament makes it impossible for him to fit in, or what to make of the bizarre behavior displayed by the town's people.

As the storyline unfolds, it grows increasingly desperate and darkly comedic. The unease is undisguised, and you, like Robert, will fight it at first, but eventually be forced to accept it and just give in. Director Genz is perfectly paired with cinematographer Jørgen Johansson who captures the essence of trepidation and misery. To call this a dark comedy may be misleading because you won't be laughing out loud, but the humor keeps an unnerving undercurrent. An offbeat modern noir, and an unusually compelling portrait of a town that has its own sense of justice.
2 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Things Are Seldom What They Seem: The Proof Is In The Watching
museumofdave19 February 2013
Things are seldom what they seem; when a cop has some problems on a city beat, he is put into what might seem to be a less stressful environment, a little place in the middle of nowhere with little more than some largely barren land and a little town where the big event seems to be a young girl in red who wheels her baby carriage around after hours; a local wife appears to have beaten by her husband, and seeks solace from the new cop; the locals watch warily to see what happens. And the viewer is sucked into a dark swamp of a plot which offers a few out-of-your-seat surprises and plenty of plot twists. Terribly Happy is a dark, unconventional thriller peopled with folks who have some very odd agendas, and I had a riveting good time with it
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Jim Thompson lives on in Denmark
dave-sturm15 August 2010
Few posters here have referenced American crime novelist Jim Thompson, but this is his turf, unquestionably. Small town. Everyone knows everyone. Secrets are buried by the residents. Town has a bad person. The local police force (one man, in this case) get pulled in by the town's sinister past. A murder is covered up. But then there's another, related, murder. Suspicion grows exponentially.

"Terribly Happy" begins with the punishment posting of a Copenhagen cop to a distant village because of something bad he has done (we learn the details later). This village is in the nastiest possible place, Jutland, a part of Denmark that looks like Kansas, but without the corn and loaded with swampy bogs. Really depressing. The cop, Robert (Jakob Cedergren), tries his best to bring professional law enforcement to the town, but is almost immediately in trouble over his head.

This is a town that doesn't cotton to strangers. It doesn't help when the town nympho, an abused wife who is married to the town bully, starts coming on to him. This is the kind of town where if someone talks to someone in public, everyone knows immediately. These are not friendly people and they love to gossip.

"Terribly Happy" works as a primo noir because it is utterly plausible, right down to the bitterly ironic ending. This is an outstanding crime drama.
3 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Intriguing but ultimately disappointing
elivbg113 March 2010
This movie definitely has some intrigue in the beginning; a policeman is relocated to a small village because of a serious misdemeanor. There is an intriguing story in the background as he makes it into the village- a metaphoric story, which hints at the modus operandi of the village people. There is a missing person, an intriguing woman with an abusive husband, and several other characters that each has its own peculiar secret. So far, so good.

I stopped watching the movie when the weakness of the characters and bad luck took over the movie plot-line or rather- was it the plot that took over the "empty" characters? The characters started feeling/looking like puppets in the hands of their bad luck. I lost connection with the characters at this point and that left me feeling like an outsider.

At this point, I did not think that the movie would be intriguing but rather thought it is just trying to make a point for which the characters are only a vehicle. The message to me was that in the end weakness transcends all other values, that the social collective reinforces each person's individual weakness. True? Unfortunately, it is perhaps a brilliantly realistic point. Inspiring for a movie? Uplifting in any way? Not really. The movie had a point and made it.
6 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Two swamps: may the cop challenge the town?
guisreis15 September 2015
Amazingly directed, "Frygtelig lykkelig" or "Terribly happy" is a tragicomedy movie about an outsider in a tiny town where all the problems are solved there in their way. The outsider is a policeman that has a tainted past which also ended his career but the police solved the issue by its way sending him to the remote insignificant town. The small town in South Jutland itself, besides the cop, may be considered as the main character of the film. In spite of the traits of each of local citizens, the town looks like a being with its own codes, engines, scripts, traps, seeming to plan and to aim, and nobody is able to deviate from that. Off course the outsiders may not accept it. Though, there is no alternative. There is a swamp there, where some cattle, people or problems may vanish. There is also another swamp in town, a metaphorical one, which, the more someone wants to free him or herself, the more becomes entangled, drowns in the mud, like in quicksand. Marshal Robert experiences that. Is it possible not to comply? Is the answer to become a local? As more and more problems emerge and the compulsory path is being unveiled, the audience feels all the nervousness. Really great film!
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Where a cop in distress becomes bogged down in...?
Roger Burke5 September 2014
Terribly Happy - a purposely reflexive and ironic title - begins by drawing the viewer into the world of Robert (Jacob Cedergren), the young constable who has been transferred to a tiny town in a remote part of Denmark. He is guilty of ... something. "So - you snapped, eh!" remarks his superior officer. Hence Robert's transfer is implicitly a punishment of sorts....

The town - situated on a bleak, boggy, barren plain - is peopled with a community who quickly show Robert he must adjust to their way of handling troublesome situations: help for a local domestic violence plight of a woman, Ingelise (Lene Christensen), in fear of her husband, Jorgen (Kim Bodnia) and who doubles as the town bully; Robert slaps a young shoplifter to the ground at the urging of the shopkeeper, instead of charging the young offender; he is forced to accept the cat left behind by the previous constable who apparently disappeared - as did the owner of the bicycle shop where Robert goes to have his flat tire repaired. Moreover, washed clothes must hung out only in a certain way.

Such confusion just gets worse when the apparently beaten wife seems to want an affair with Robert. He tries to resist, but an unaccountable drive spurs him on to an illicit relationship. Add to that the little girl dressed in red who, every evening, walks her dolls in a squeaky pram up and down the main street. And while the customers at the local bar seem to regard him with reserve, even disdain, a local trio of card players urge Robert to join in to their almost perpetual card playing.

Throughout all of this, Robert also attempts to solve the mystery of those who disappear into the local bogs ... or somewhere. A murder, although accidental - or was it? - occurs; and finally Robert tries to protect Jorgen, who is absolutely innocent of the crime, from community retribution....

So, what sort of a community would resort to such a litany of oddball actions? Where, exactly, is this troubling town anyway? And, why does Robert comply - so readily, it seems?

The bizarrely confused nature of Robert's situation strongly implies more than simply a lone copper up against a bunch of feral farmers. Exactly what that is, I leave up to each viewer to decide. For inspiration, I'd suggest thinking of Psycho (1960), Spellbound (1945), particularly Lost Highway (1997), Bug (2006) and Shutter Island (2010), all of which center upon a character in the grip of a psychological nightmare.

The acting is adequate, as is the production. Kim Bodnia is always effective in creepy roles - or any role, in fact. The structure and direction are suitable for the development of occasional suspense and muted terror. Only the ending lacks real punch, but does provide adequate resolution for me.

While I'm not terribly happy about this outing, I still recommend it for those who like, as I do, Danish drama. Give it six out of ten.

September 6, 2014
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Not very good
don_Django12 May 2009
I just rented the DVD the other night and was really excited. I had been looking forward to this film for a long time because of all the good reviews it had received..

I was deeply disappointed. You can tell the main plot instantly, the characters are stale and not lovable at all. There isn't really any great attempts on humor in the film and the pace is very very slow.

There are so many other movies about small local communities in all genres (Needful Things, Sleepy Hollow, Italiensk for Begyndere (DK), Hot Fuzz, the TV-show League of Gentlemen etc.) and Frygtelig Lykkelig is just not up to par.

I'm sorry to say I can't recommend this movie.

Try these Danish movies instead. They are guaranteed to make you laugh:

Blinkende Lygter, En Kort En Lang, Grev Aksel, De Grønne Slagtere, I Kina Spiser De Hunde

If you do watch this movie however, it will leave you with many unanswered questions and a feeling of unfulfillment and disappointment.
12 out of 70 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Terribly good noir
jdesando7 April 2010
Terribly Happy is a terribly good Danish Oscar submission, remade by the original director, Henrik Ruben Genz, honoring the noir tradition with an off-center hero cop, a small town full of figurative dirt easily hidden by its voracious bog, a blonde femme fatale in the Hitchcock tradition, and a low-key cinematography that captures the desolate, anarchic lowland of South Jute.

Jakob Cedergren, in a Guy Pearce Memento turn as a cop reassigned from Copenhagen to Australia, immediately gets caught in the web of lawlessness of a small town that could substitute for any remote stop on an American cinematic Western stage route.

As in Orson Welles' Touch of Evil, no good is bound to come of it for citizen or criminal; you can feel the evil in every frame of this thriller whose only flaw is the illogic of its outcomes.
2 out of 8 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
peculiar and intriguing
razmatazern30 June 2010
Terribly Happy entertained me throughout the whole film. From the peculiar characters to the peculiar town, I was interested in how this film would unwind. Like others have mentioned, the feel of the film reminded me of a Coen brothers movie, and certain parts of the movie were reminiscent of Fargo.

The character of Robert was very intriguing. As I watched him trying to adapt in this little town, I wanted to know more about him. I wanted to know his back story and about his daughter. Fortunately, as the movie progresses, you learn bits and pieces of his character.

The town is not just a simple small town where nothing happens, as suggested in the beginning of the film. The town is full of mystery, and it pretty much has it's own well-established government that controls everything that happens there.

I really enjoyed the film and would recommend it to anybody that wants to watch an interesting and intriguing film.
1 out of 5 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Distinctive and sophisticated
Bene Cumb8 November 2013
Small distant communities have always local secrets not to be revealed to outsiders, but sometimes small hidden minor matters develop into big illegal acts... Such things we can follow in Frygtelig lykkelig where an "exiled" policeman wades into a family affair in a township in South- Jutland. He is not easily accepted by locals - although he constantly tries - and the price of acceptance comes to be high. The ending scenes are somewhat logical, although they are hard to consider likely in the Danish society where crime ties are not routine. However, tensions and run of events are skilfully depicted by wonderful directing and camera-work.

As for the cast, then Jakob Cedergren is a decent actor, but he is still neither e.g. Mads Mikkelsen or Ulrich Thomsen... And in scenes together with Kim Bodnia or Lars Brygmann, Cedergren's presence is less perceived. The leading female, Lene Maria Christensen was also just above average.

Nevetheless, the film in question is a nicely twisted crime film, a good example of Danish filmography.
0 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Dark and twisted
sergepesic3 October 2011
Small town Denmark, bleak countryside, unfriendly hicks. That's the setting of this quirky, dark and twisted little movie. The director, Henrik Ruben Genz, is toying with the western genre. Guys in jeans, stetson hats, the town policemen called Marshall, and the very specific and macabre sense of justice in an isolated little community. " Terribly Happy " is an interesting flick, obviously inspired with the Coen brother's artistic madness. Characters in this skewed dark comedy are sharp and without subtlety, that would definitely slow down the intended message.All in all, an original, hard to pin down movie, which est ethic just is not my cup of tea.
0 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Terrific - a dark HOT FUZZ - funny & disturbing all at once
cjaye22 August 2011
Warning: Spoilers
SPOILER ALERT: Brilliant. At first I wasn't sure how I felt about it because I was rooting so hard for the lead that when I found out he was so flawed I was upset. I wanted him to be a good guy. I felt bad for him, but at the same time knowing he was not a good person. But even saying that is simplistic, because he's so three dimensional, you just see him as a victim of his circumstances and yet... you want him to do the right thing but know if you were in his shoes it would be difficult. So many great little touches from the little girl with the squeaky carriage to how he gradually comes to accept the town. Visually it's wonderful and the acting is terrific. So many odd characters. Funny enough to me, it felt like a REALLY DARK Hot Fuzz. Though I do see the Cohen Brother influence especially the influence of Blood Simple. This movie was surprising and fresh. I also thought it was interesting in the very last scene when they dealt him cards but when the camera pulled back there were no cards on the table. Some say this was a mistake. I wonder. To me it felt like it was saying "Things are not what they seem" just like the little town where nothing goes wrong... not what it seems.
0 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews