7.6/10
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3 user 1 critic

Director:

Genevieve Bailey

Writer:

Brita McVeigh (storyline consultant)
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2 nominations. See more awards »

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Taglines:

Australian men bravely speak up about mental health.

Genres:

Documentary

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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

Australia

Language:

English

Release Date:

12 August 2018 (Australia) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Proud Mother Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Color:

Color
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User Reviews

 
Indulgent movie about trendy mental health issues
13 August 2018 | by mschloejohnsonSee all my reviews

I had the opportunity to watch the premiere of Happy Sad Man yesterday at the Melbourne International Film Festival 2018 (MIFF), and in spite of my great expectations and excitement, left the theatre thinking that indeed a few happy and a few sad decisions have been made in the making of this film.

The happy decisions:

  • To talk about men mental health.


  • To choose some truly lovely and peculiar human beings to be the heroes of the story. The generosity and openness of these Men sharing their stories is really touching, and makes the movie.


  • Cool music by Nick Huggins.


The sad decisions:

  • To talk once again about the "trendy" mental health issues, the ones everybody is already talking about (depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and a -too brief- view on post traumatic stress disorder), instead of talking about the mental issues that are not on trend, such as schizophrenia.


  • To prioritise what's funny, cute, or shocking over a real exploration of these illnesses. If I was a man wondering if I may be suffering any of those disorders, I'd leave the theatre with the same doubts I had before. More entertained, though.


  • Bailey's (director) involvement in front of the camera doesn't feel right. She is either trying to show an empathy that doesn't go too deep, posing for the camera, or showing off her "Happinnes" and "great nature" in the face of these Men and their illnesses.


  • The trained eye will find Bailey leading some of the conversations with either the Men or their families.


  • The ambiguous (maybe romantic?) relationship between John, the oldest Man in the movie (70+?), and Bailey (late 30's?). Not sure what that all is about. Sure love comes in all shapes and ages, but in the case it risks to move the conversation and dialogue about the movie in a different direction.


All and all, an agreeable movie with some cute bits that had all the potential and resources to go deep in a very important topic, but where the director has chosen to remain on the surface, indulgent, leaving the audience with a smile instead of opening new perspectives on men mental health.


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