Happy, Happy

"Very 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

Imperium Movie Review

Imperium Movie Review

First-time filmmaker Daniel Ragussis takes an unusual approach to this thriller. Since it's based on...

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

The Girl With All the Gifts Movie Review

Like a 10-years-later follow-up to 28 Days Later, this small British thriller takes a refreshingly...

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

The Magnificent Seven Movie Review

Director Antoine Fuqua brings his usual fascination with violence to this remake of the iconic...

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

Bridget Jones's Baby Movie Review

As it's been 12 years since the last Bridget Jones movie, expectations aren't too high...

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years Movie Review

A-list director Ron Howard worked with the surviving Beatles to assemble this engaging documentary, which...

Blair Witch Movie Review

Blair Witch Movie Review

It's been 17 years since The Blair Witch Project shook up the cinema and created...

Anthropoid Movie Review

Anthropoid Movie Review

Outside the Czech Republic, few people know about Operation Anthropoid, a spy mission in 1943...

Advertisement
Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

Kubo and the Two Strings Movie Review

From Laika (The Boxtrolls), this is one of the most beautiful, sophisticated animated films in...

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

Captain Fantastic Movie Review

An offbeat comedy-drama with a timely kick, this charming family road trip takes on some...

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Hell or High Water Movie Review

Sicario screenwriter Taylor Sheridan delivers another fiercely intelligent, engaging story that maintains high suspense while...

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

The 9th Life of Louis Drax Movie Review

With heavy overtones of Hitchcockian mystery and intrigue, this stylish thriller is the enjoyably melodramatic...

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

Kickboxer: Vengeance Movie Review

The 1989 Muay Thai action movie Kickboxer starred a young Jean-Claude Van Damme, who pops...

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.