Happiness (1998)

Original Title : Happiness
Director : Todd Solondz
Writer : Todd Solondz
Genre : Drama
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


¬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
¬Jos√© Rabelo Pedro
¬Diane Tyler Janet
¬Olga Stepanova Zhenia's Mother


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.


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