Happy, Happy

"Good"

Happy, Happy Review


While highlighting the messier side of human interaction, this Norwegian black comedy blends snappy wit and romantic farce to keep us entertained even when things get rather dark. A prize-winner at Sundance, the film features realistic, likeable people in a strikingly isolated winter location that pushes them into both revealing hidden secrets and confronting truths about themselves. It's an unexpected little gem of a film.

It centres on Danish couple Sigve and Elisabeth (Henrik Rafaelsen and Saerens) who, to rescue their troubled marriage, move with their adopted Ethiopian son Noa (Ebedy) to a farmhouse in rural Norway. They soon meet their chirpy, optimistic neighbour/landlord Kaja (Kittelsen), who sees them as exciting, liberal-minded world travellers who can spice up her life. So she immediately starts flirting with Sigve. But Kaja's quietly distant husband Eirik (Joachim Rafaelson) is also intrigued, because Sigve sparks his repressed sexuality. Meanwhile, their precocious son Theodor (Brandso) is fascinated by Noa's ethnicity.

Only in Scandinavia could such a farcical situation be tinged with a darkly deranged sense of humour and some very intense emotional resonance. As Kaja and Sigve begin to have a giggly affair, the fallout for Elisabeth and Eirik could be cataclysmic. And it's unnerving to see Theodor playing with Noa as if he were a slave of the empire, even though he does it in a way that's disarmingly innocent. While the set-up lends itself to slapstick comedy, where the story goes is intriguingly unpredictable. And it's beautifully shot to capture the locations, plus several effective gospel music performances.

It helps that the filmmakers never shy away from the story's sharper edges, fully revealing the pain even in clearly absurd situations. And the cast is terrific at finding the likeable humanity in every comical encounter, while never letting the serious scenes boil over into melodrama. They always getting a smile or laugh from us, even if it's a nervous one. It's rare to find a film that acknowledges that love can be messy and difficult. And that real honesty is the only way it can work.

Rich Cline



Happy, Happy

Facts and Figures

Genre: Foreign

Run time: 85 mins

In Theaters: Friday 16th September 2011

Box Office USA: $44.9k

Distributed by: Magnolia Pictures

Production compaines: Helly Hansen

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 85%
Fresh: 40 Rotten: 7

IMDB: 6.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Anne Sewitsky

Producer: Synnove Horsdal


Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Inside Out Movie Review

Inside Out Movie Review

Those bright sparks at Pixar have done it again, taking a fiercely original approach to...

Southpaw Movie Review

Southpaw Movie Review

Slick direction and meaty performances may be enough for some viewers, but this boxing drama's...

Eden Movie Review

Eden Movie Review

Loose and impressionistic, this beautifully shot film traces the career of a DJ who pioneered...

The Gallows Movie Review

The Gallows Movie Review

Without a single moment of originality, this found-footage horror movie really deserves to be the...

Advertisement
Self/Less Movie Review

Self/Less Movie Review

An intriguing premise keeps the audience gripped for about 20 minutes before the movie runs...

Ant-Man Movie Review

Ant-Man Movie Review

The increasingly stale Marvel formula gets a blast of fresh air in this rollocking adventure...

Love & Mercy Movie Review

Love & Mercy Movie Review

An unusually inventive approach brings this story to life, as the filmmakers get into the...

Ted 2 Movie Review

Ted 2 Movie Review

Fans of the surprise 2012 hit Ted will find plenty to love in this sequel,...

Advertisement