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Happiness (1998)

Original Title : Happiness
Director : Todd Solondz
Writer : Todd Solondz
Genre : Drama
Comedy
Country : USA
Language : English
Producer : Ted Hope , Pamela Koffler , David Linde , James Schamus , Christine Vachon
Music : Robbie Kondor
Eytan Mirsky
Photography : Maryse Alberti
MPAA Rating : Rating surrendered, previously rated NC-17.
IMDB ID : 0147612
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poster for "Happiness" by Todd Solondz (1998)
Happiness (1998) - Todd Solondz
 

Starring

Jane Adams Joy Jordan
Jon Lovitz Andy Kornbluth
Philip Seymour Hoffman Allen
Dylan Baker Bill Maplewood
Lara Flynn Boyle Helen Jordan
Justin Elvin Timmy Maplewood
Cynthia Stevenson Trish Maplewood
Lila Glantzman-Leib Chloe Maplewood
Gerry Becker Psychiatrist
Rufus Read Billy Maplewood
Louise Lasser Mona Jordan
Ben Gazzara Lenny Jordan
Camryn Manheim Kristina
Arthur J. Nascarella Detective Berman
Molly Shannon Nancy
Ann Harada Kay
Douglas McGrath Tom
Dr. Eric Marcus Courteous Waiter
Eytan Mirsky Angry Picketer
Lisa Louise Langford Radical Picketer
Anne Bobby Rhonda
Socorro Santiago Crying Teacher
Allison Furman Consoling Teacher
Wai Ching Ho Student
Bina Sharif Student
Tsepo Mokone Student
Jared Harris Vlad
Dan Moran Joe Grasso
Evan Silverberg Johnny Grasso
Marla Maples Ann Chambeau
Hope Pomerance Hysterical Woman
Matt Malloy Doctor
Elizabeth Ashley Diane Freed
Dan Tedlie Don
Marina Gaizidorskia Zhenia
Johann Carlo Betty Grasso
Joe Lisi Police Detective
José Rabelo Pedro
Diane Tyler Janet
Olga Stepanova Zhenia's Mother
 

Plot

When a young woman (Jane Adams) rejects her current overweight suitor (Jon Lovitz) in a restaurant, he unexpectedly places a curse on her. The film then moves on to her sisters. One (Cynthia Stevenson) is a happily married woman with a psychiatrist husband (Dylan Baker) and three kids. Unfortunately the husband develops an unnatural fascination for his 11 year old son's male classmates, fantasizes about mass killing in a park, and masturbates to teen magazines. One of his patients (Philip Seymour Hoffman) has an unrequited fascination for the third sister (Lara Flynn Boyle). Meanwhile the apparently stable 40 year marriage of the sister's parents (Ben Gazzara, Louise Lasser) suddenly unravels when he decides he has had enough and wants to live a hermit's life in Florida. Obviously, the whole movie is slightly warped in its viewpoint and certainly presents abnormal relationships among all of its parties.
 

Comments

Sex: it's on everyone's mind! The sexual foibles, perversities and hang-ups of a trio of sisters, their parents, neighbors and friends--told in a low, slightly monotone, key. It's a rich carousel of scared, scary lives with an inter-connecting pattern: the disillusionment of coupling--and how one keeps trying to succeed in this department despite the humiliations. Pretty funny once you get the idea--and only if you're attuned to this kind of sick black humor. Not for the faint of heart, but extremely clever concoction from talented writer-director Todd Solondz(whose first film, "Welcome To The Dollhouse", struck me as a stunt). This one is frank, funny, and very warped--almost over-the-top in places(especially the ending)but kept on track by terrific, terrific performances. Some might compare this to the later "Magnolia"(they're both tapestry films), but this one is superior, and certainly less pretentious.
 
poster for "Happiness"
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Happiness (1998) - Todd Solondz
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