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

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

With its fifth feature-length adventure, this franchise continues its preposterous journey at full tilt. As...

Advertisement
Keanu Movie Review

Keanu Movie Review

An entertaining hybrid of satirical comedy and action thriller, this madcap adventure swerves wildly between...

Ghostbusters Movie Review

Ghostbusters Movie Review

It's been more than 30 years since the Ghostbusters first hit the big screen with...

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

While the original 2013 magical caper was a big hit, it's style-over-substance approach didn't exactly...

The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

It's been nearly 30 years since the last live-action Tarzan movie, and yet it still...

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

A New York comedy with vivid characters and a contrived plot, this feels rather a...

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Nearly 25 years after the sitcom debuted, Edina and Patsy arrive on the big screen...

Central Intelligence Movie Review

Central Intelligence Movie Review

After teaming up with Will Ferrell for Get Hard and Ice Cube for two Ride...

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.