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3.9
4,644 Ratings

Happiness

Directed by Todd Solondz
United States, 1998
Drama, Comedy, Cult

Synopsis

Set in the suburbs of New Jersey, this darkly comic, unsettling feature follows the lives of the Jordan sisters — perky, wannabe-musician Joy, cheery housewife and mother of three Trish, and sultry, sophisticated poet Helen — after a failed date brings a curse upon their family.

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Happiness Directed by Todd Solondz

Awards & Festivals

Cannes Film Festival

1998 | Winner: FIPRESCI Prize

Independent Spirit Awards

1999 | 3 nominations including: Best Director

Toronto International Film Festival

1998 | Winner: Metro Media Award

Critics reviews

I watched Happiness again 12 years after first reviewing it and thought it was amazing. Not just the scene with Dylan Baker trying to drug and molest that kid — maybe one of the most notorious examples of how a filmmaker can twist an audience’s identification since the heyday of Alfred Hitchcock — but the entire movie. It was funny, sad, sincere, ugly, tough, weird, occasionally horrifying. You could not watch it and feel nothing.
November 22, 2016
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It dawned on me that Solondz was engaging not in simplistic mockery but in a twisted compassion: an attempt to identify with a monster. Perhaps I had changed as a viewer in the intervening years—whether through a greater familiarity with Solondz’s work, or simply through shifting priorities as a movie-watcher, i.e. more of a tolerance for films like Solondz’s that toe the line between contempt and empathy.
June 23, 2016
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