The discovery of oil in the North Sea brought sudden and unexpected wealth to a previously rural part of Norway; 'State of Happiness' follows both the history of the birth of the Norwegian oil industry, and the period of societal change. While some of the story feels generic, there were two details I liked. Firstly, the portrait of the canny Norwegian politicians who figured out how to make sure that their country, and not just the multinationals, made money out of oil. As a Briton, I got the idea that the founding of the State Oil company may play an analagous role in contemporary Norwegian mytholgy to the founding of the N.H.S. does in my country's. The other thing I liked is the way that the social transformation allows a number of the younger characters (two of them women) to find and value themselves; this plotline is well telegraphed throughout but still nicely executed. As an aside, although everyone is constantly bewailing the Stavanger weather, the story is filmed in generally much more clement conditions than we see in Scandinavian crime thrillers. And it's much more interesting than many of those.
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