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Another Happy Day (2011)

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A wedding at her parents' Annapolis estate hurls high-strung Lynn into the center of touchy family dynamics.

Director:

Sam Levinson

Writer:

Sam Levinson
2 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Ellen Barkin ... Lynn
Ezra Miller ... Elliot
Ellen Burstyn ... Doris Baker
Demi Moore ... Patty
Thomas Haden Church ... Paul
Kate Bosworth ... Alice
George Kennedy ... Joe Baker
Jeffrey DeMunn ... Lee
Daniel Yelsky ... Ben
Siobhan Fallon Hogan ... Bonnie
Diana Scarwid ... Donna
Eamon O'Rourke Eamon O'Rourke ... Brandon
Lola Kirke ... Charlie
David Hirsch ... Tommy
Michael Nardelli ... Dylan
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Storyline

A family weekend is fraught with emotional landmines for mercurial and sensitive Lynn (Barkin) as she arrives at her parents' Annapolis estate for the marriage of her estranged eldest son Dylan (Michael Nardelli), accompanied by her three younger children (Ezra Miller, Kate Bosworth, Daniel Yelsky). Lynn's hopes for a joyful reunion are crushed as her wry but troubled middle son Elliot (Ezra Miller) lobs verbal grenades at his mother and her relatives while daughter Alice (Kate Bosworth), a fights valiantly to keep her longtime demons under control. The weekend quickly unravels as Lynn demands to be heard by her aloof, disdainful mother (Ellen Burstyn), ailing, distant father (George Kennedy) and ever-judgmental sisters (Siobhan Fallon, Diana Scarwid), but most especially by her ex-husband Paul (Thomas Hayden Church) and his hot-tempered second wife Patty (Demi Moore). Confronted with the deeply painful, half-buried truths that have given rise to the family's primal web ofresentments ... Written by Phase4 Films

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for teen drug/alcohol abuse, pervasive language including sexual references, and brief graphic nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

8 December 2011 (Greece) See more »

Also Known As:

A Reasonable Bunch See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$4,000,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During filming of the night rescue scene, Ezra Miller (Elliott) was towed out into the middle of Lakeville Lake (Chesapeake Bay) in only an inner tube. He wore no safety gear of any sort as the the rescue helicopter hovered several feet overheard. Much of the scene was cut from the final product. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Ben: Do you think mom is hot?
Elliot: No, not really.
Ben: Why?
Elliot: I don't know. She's not my type.
Ben: You don't think she's pretty? Even if she wasn't mom.
Elliot: Uh, look, every opinion is objective. You know, maybe she's pretty in a universal sense. Uh, I mean, who the fuck knows? I'm just saying, she doesn't do it for me.
Ben: Do you think other people think she's hot?
Elliot: I don't know, some people fuckin' like McDonalds.
Ben: I like McDonalds.
[...]
See more »

Connections

Featured in The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Episode #20.31 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

Just You And I
Written by Alexander Norris, Stuart Hart, Scott Lean
Performed by Tony Liberto
Courtesy of Selectracks
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User Reviews

 
An Ensemble of Outstanding Performances
8 January 2012 | by TroyeEvansSee all my reviews

"Another Happy Day" does not operate in the way usual films do. It does not give you a certain point of climax or intensity and a so-called satisfying, complete closure that many people may expect. Well, these are exactly the things not to be expected.

Look forward to a distinctive drama about a family and the relationships in it. Look forward to a unusual film with both happy and sad moments yet not necessarily with even the slightest of predictability and cheerfulness. It is not necessarily sad, but for certain it does not try to cheer you up.

You can call this film many things. Call it hilarious, call it depressing, call it reality, call it family. It has its share of heartbreaking and heartwarming moments, and it is certainly harsh when it comes to show that this may be exactly what reality may be like. Not all problems can be solved in real life like in the movies, and this is a piece that does not present itself as a typical film; it presents itself as a potential reality, and it goes from there.

The emotions are so rich and deep in this film that it is almost impossible to capture them all so vividly and put them forth on the screen for the audience. But thanks to a group of brilliant performances, the impossible becomes possible, and the power of film definitely emanates more from the incredibly stunning and entirely realistic acting than from the plot.

Despite the total ignorance of this film by the Academy, the performances here alone, not taking the storyline into account, form one of the greatest ensembles of the year. Ellen Barkin as Lynn and Ezra Miller as Elliot, Lynn's son, have delivered one of the most solid and promising performances of the year, and are undoubtedly, as most would say, Oscar-worthy. The emotional collapse of Ellen Burstyn as Doris, Lynn's mother, is another performance too powerful to not pay attention to. The only underachieving one here may be Academy Award nominee Thomas Haden Church, who plays Lynn's ex-husband, Paul, and now has a new spouse, Patty (Demi Moore).

There is a lot of love and hate in this film, and however immorally wrong it may be, this reflects reality in many families, especially bigger ones. The countless issues are not going to just vanish, and it is usually easier said than done to overcome these troubles. In Lynn's case it is even more difficult, with everyone in the family seeming to disapprove of her actions and as Lynn refers to, not on her side. During such a visit with so much hospitality, Lynn must resolve into getting over these problems in the wedding of his son Dylan (Michael Nardelli), who has stayed with Paul and Patty since little age.

Another problem arises as Lynn continues to think and have serious doubts whether she is a good mother. Elliot and Ben (Daniel Yelsky) are both raised by Lynn, and they also have "issues". The former has some kind of severe emotional disorder and can burst into an uncontrollable rampage all of a sudden while the latter is also said to have mildly autistic trouble. Alice (Kate Bosworth), another child raised by Lynn, also seems to have issues and has even hurt herself before. It is in this situation that brings Lynn to the edge. She is on the verge of breaking down, under an extremely uncomfortable environment with everyone pointing fingers at her from the outside and her inner sorrow of her failures on her children.

We have Elliot and Ben. Ben appears as a figure lacking confidence and often feels and reacts badly when others discuss his "autistic nature". Elliot is not your ordinary teenager. He takes teenage drugs and smokes cigarettes, but he is more than that. At times, he seems normal and behaves normally, but at other times, he can act incoherently and totally irresponsibly because of his apparent inability to control himself in certain circumstances. While Lynn has her unbearable load of issues to tackle, the two teenagers also have to deal with their hardships during this somewhat unwanted visit to Lynn's mother.

Alice is not presented to us as a main character though she has been the focus of conversations from time to time, and when she comes up, her problem is no longer her own. It is connected to other members in the family, like Lynn herself, and of course her father, Paul. The relationship between her and Paul is one kind of relationship, and the relationship between Lynn and Paul concerning her is another kind, and then it certainly also causes problems between Patty and Lynn. And between Patty and Lynn it does not end there. With Dylan being Lynn's son but being raised by Patty, his tendency towards Lynn for walking him down the aisle inevitably results in Patty's fury.

The relationships in this family are too complex describe in plain words and you will have to see for yourself how complicated it can be.

"Another Happy Day" has depth in its diversity of emotions portrayed by a group of talented actors and actresses, and it is an enjoyable experience. It is a drama about a family in general. It covers life and death, sicknesses, teenage problems, emotional disorders, marriages, love, and of course, family.

All I have to remind you is that "Another Happy Day" may not really guarantee you a "happy" experience. For most of the audience, I would say "depression" should be the word. But I guess if you face it optimistically and bravely, it can still be a satisfying and happy journey somehow.

Either way, it is a film where extraordinarily great performances meet affluently rich sentimental displays and a film that should be appreciated.


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