Wednesday, May 18, 2016

930. Happiness

Directed by Todd Solondz

This is a film I wish I had never seen.  It actually kept me up a couple of nights ago, as I reflected on some of the more disturbing scenes.  Well, my anxiety actually kept me awake, but I will blame this movie for at least a half hour of my unwanted consciousness.   I'm not saying this was exploitative or shouldn't have been made; I just don't know why anyone would want to see it.

The movie tells the story of the three Jordan sisters.  Joy is a timid telephone saleswoman whose personal life is unfulfilling.  The film opens with Joy rejecting a potential suitor, who later goes on to kill himself.  Her older sister Trish pities Joy, as she imagines Joy is jealous of Trish's suburban family.  Trish is unaware that her husband Bill is a pedophile (although I didn't think her life was that enviable in the first place).  The third sister, Helen, is a narcissistic author who regularly gets obscene phone calls.  She is infatuated with the anonymous caller, unaware that he is her awkward neighbor Allen.

First Festen and now this. I guess child molestation is the theme right now for movies.  I guess showing the humanity in a pedophile is brave in a way, as we usually picture them as easily identifiable creeps and not as ordinary looking people.  Personally, this made the film extra upsetting for me.  I suppose the director was intent on making the audience uncomfortable.  Job well done, sir.

So should people see this, even though viewing it is such an unpleasant experience?  I'm not sure it enriched my life in any way; I walked away feeling disturbed and slightly less optimistic about human beings.  Still, I can see people appreciating the temerity of this movie.  But honestly, I wish I had skipped it.

RATING: **---

Interesting Facts:

On Premiere's "25 Most Dangerous Movies" list.

Jack Black was considered for the part of Allen.

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