Happiness (1998)

HAPPINESS

(Drama, Comedy, 1998) (18) D/W : Todd Solondz  P : Ted Hope S : Dylan Baker, Philip Seymour Hoffman. 2h 14m. USA.

The lives of many individuals connected by the desire for happiness, often from sources usually considered dark or evil.

Happiness

From the first scene you get a pretty good indication of how raw this movie is going to be. The beginning reminded me of The ABC’s of Death (2012) As it just chucks you into the mix with no mercy.

The movie revolves around one family and their entanglement with neighbours, friends, stalkers and students, each of the main characters and associated people are all trying to find their own personal happiness, I find it strange that they all seem to think that this can be found in another person or sex, but I’m sure there are some psychologist who will argue why we do this.

The subject matter is unsettling but dealt with in a childlike way which makes it more twisted. The resident pedophile (Dylan Baker) would normally be seen/portrayed as a dirty and disgusting man, but he’s a punctual caring father with a job. He’s invisible as a peado but still rapes his son’s best friend (and makes it onto our worst fathers list). But the conclusion of this mini saga is just a simple chat with his son on the sofa, both are very honest and there is no judgement or closure. It’s scenes like this that will cause people to love or hate the movie.

There are some drawn out scenes, like when Joy’s colleague/date commits suicide and no one in the office remembers him and spend a good 5 minutes or more asking around trying to recall him. It’s scenes like this which give you time to reflect.

I adore the film; I found it totally fascinating to see an authentic look into the secretive lives of a few individuals who have very dark natures. You’ll recognise someone you know in each character and I think it’s at that point it hits home that the people around you aren’t what they seem. We all have a darker nature, maybe not all to the same degree as the people in the movie but it’s rife among us, this is what will terrify people.

I did find myself trying to predict what would happen next, with the relaxed pace of the movie you are kinda left to think.. “he’s gonna, he’s not gonna, oh my god he did what!?” You don’t really expect Dylan to drug and rape the young boy, you think with all the things that could go wrong that the kid would be spared.

You don’t see the act but you feel the realisation of the “blood in the BW” it’s like when someone says “the N word” you can’t not think Nigga.. brilliant now I’m thinking of that thing that you’re not mentioning! There are scenes which force you to think of scenarios and it doesn’t even touch on them, and it’s only because your human and as twisted as the characters that you are thinking along those lines.. Well done Mr Solondz.

R : Thursday (1998), Clive barkers History of the Devil (Radio play)

T : Director Cameo (Todd Solondz) as the doorman in Allen, Helen and Kristina’s building.

Q: “would you ever fuck me? 

no I’d jerk off instead”

“You know I wish you had told me this twenty years ago. Now I’m gonna have to get another FUCKING FACELIFT.”

 “I’m gonna fuck you till cum comes out your ears”,

TIL : Dogs eat cum!

BS : Any scene with Dylan Baker is amazing, I have such a crush on him… But the last scene with him and his son talking about his “sickness” is amazing.

9/10

09

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