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List price: £5.99|
Average customer rating:
4.07 out of 5
Media: VHS Tape|
ISBN/ASIN : B00004D02B
Manufacturer : Entertainment in Video|
Release data : 15 May, 2000
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Brilliant but not to all tastes........ Spoilers included
Happiness Review by Minnie Warnings Firstly if you are easily shocked, or do not like American Art House Cinema, then this may not be for you. There are bits in it which even grossed me out. If you are looking for a film which is about, or even allows for happiness in its protagonists, then this is also not the film for you.
As "The DayTrippers" was "Huis Clos" in a a Station Wagon, "Happiness" is Hannah and her twisted sisters, in New Jersey.
The film loosely follows the lives of the three Jordan sisters living in New Jersey. Joy is a nice kind unfocused failure, Trish a smug suburban mother, married to Bill a closet paedophile, and Helen the outwardly beautiful, but inwardly self-obsessed and narcissistic poet.
Basically Joy breaks off her relationship with a sad desperate loser of a workmate, in a restaurant. A great opening scene in which the gentle manner in which the relationship is broken off is brilliantly turned on its head, by the rejected boyfriend. Upset by the fact that this guy later kills himself, Joy quits her job and starts teaching immigrants. She meets a Russian spiv who takes advantage of her.
Her sister the poet is bothered by the sucess of her "superficial"soul searching poetry, and her success with money, work, and sex life. She wonders when someone will like her for herself, not just because she is beautiful and successful. This leads to a semi flirtation with the obscene phone pest played by PSH.
Her sister Trish has an outwardly happy life with a successful psychiatristhusband Bill. Yet there are dark secrets here too. She has no sex life and her husband drugs her and the rest of the family in order to molest the friend of his son.
Dylan Baker is really excellent as the father of the family. His scenes with his son are upsetting, shocking, thought provoking and yet there is a really wierd sense of his pain too. (Please don't take me to task on this, paedophilia is a vile, evil and unforgiveable crime and this character is a really sick bastard Ok ).
Also Brilliant is Phil Seymour Hoffman. His role is that of the boring lonely neighbour of Helen, whonurses a sick obscene facination for her. This sickness takes the form of obscene phonecalls down the Jordans of the phone directory. Helen responds initially but then when he reveals himself to her, is cruelly rejected. He's brilliant, fat, ugly and vile in this role,
He in turn is bothered by his neighbour ,Camryn Mannheim,who has killed? the night porter of their flats. Their relationship based on rejected loneliness are some of the films most poignant sections.
I would really recommend this film but its NOT for everyone.
Parting Comment, You will never kiss your dog, after this film ever again, and thats a good thing too.
Not for the Tame of Heart
This smacks a bit of a director (Solondz)out to make something of a splash for himself. An attention-getting, semaphore-waving, "hey looky here how cutting edge, mod, hip, shoot from the hip, auteur I can be!" On the other hand, it's a pretty darned well directed movie, with many carefully-crafted, dramatic and dark comic vignettes, that don't quite add up to a great sum total.
Without going into the lurid details of what makes this movie so controversial (read any other review to get the idea), Solondz' main strength would appear to be his allowing his excellent ensemble cast the latitude to fully investigate their roles. Even Jon Lovitz, not exactly what one would usually think of when the word "method acting" comes up, delivers a delightfully unrestrained, semi-monologue at the beginning of the film that serves as the keynote address in the convention of the mad that is to follow. Perfect delivery. Perfect timing. Nice payoff.
Self-indulgent or not, the film will definitely hold your interest (even when you wish it wouldn't) and have you believing in the characters and the storyline. Don't watch with Grandma and the kids, unless you have an even more bizarre and dysfunctional family than the one depicted here.
Happiness is not a fish that you can catch
Wow. Todd Solondzs controversial ensemble drama certainly turned a few heads when it was released. The staple of every critics Top 10 list for 1998 and the winner of the International Critics Prize at Cannes, and its not hard to see why. The film is brilliantly written with some great direction. The bunch of misfits is this story range from a chronic masturbator to a girl with extremely bad luck in men. However its easily Dylan Bakers performance as a closet paedophile that sticks the most.
If there are any faults with this film, its that not all the storylines are greatly expanded on or tied up at the end. But that is just a minor fault in what is a must see film.