I guess a lot of people went into this movie expecting something more straightforward and "meaningful" due to its premise. Perhaps they were expecting some sort of insight into the meaning of life; after all, one of the main characters does buy a book for the titular $9.99 which purports to know.
Instead what we have is a delightful collection of interwoven short stories, all sharing in a similar theme of what it means to be happy, with surrealist angle that gives it an almost fairytale feel, but which never detracts from its believability.
The characters are made out of clay, but they're people, and even in their mundane lives, they still have interesting stories to see play out. None of them are heroes, or villains, or otherwise anything more or less than ordinary enough people. They have flaws, and fears, and insecurities, but they manage to make do with what they have to give their lives meaning, and it's the sort of thing that happens all the time in the real world, just sans some feathers and swimming techniques.
This movie never bludgeons you over the head with things the director feels are profound or meaningful, it sits down with you for some tea and chats amiably about its day, and lets you draw your own conclusions. If you want a movie to just relax and get lost in, you probably won't go wrong with $9.99.
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