Happiness (1998) - Rotten Tomatoes


Happiness (1998)



Critic Consensus: Happiness is far from a cheerful viewing experience, but its grimly humorous script and fearless performances produce a perversely moving search for humanity within everyday depravity.

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Movie Info

The lives of many individuals connected by the desire for happiness, often from sources usually considered dark or evil.

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Jane Adams
as Joy Jordan
Jon Lovitz
as Andy Kornbluth
Dylan Baker
as Bill Maplewood
Lara Flynn Boyle
as Helen Jordan
Ben Gazzara
as Lenny Jordan
Marla Maples
as Ann Chambeau
Cynthia Stevenson
as Trish Maplewood
Elizabeth Ashley
as Diane Freed
Louise Lasser
as Mona Jordan
Rufus Read
as Billy Maplewood
Anne Bobby
as Rhonda
Dan Moran
as Joe Grasso
Evan Silverberg
as Johnny Grasso
Justin Elvin
as Timmy Maplewood
Lila Glantzman-Leib
as Chloe Maplewood
Gerry Becker
as Psychiatrist
Arthur J. Nascarella
as Detective Berman
Eric Marcus
as Courteous Waiter
Eytan Mirsky
as Angry Picketer
Lisa Louise Langford
as Radical Picketer
Socorro Santiago
as Crying Teacher
Allison Furman
as Consoling Teacher
Wai Ching Ho
as Student No. 1
Bina Sharif
as Student No. 2
Tsepo Mokone
as Student No. 3
Hope Pomerance
as Hysterical Woman
Johann Carlo
as Betty Grasso
Joe Lisi
as Police Detective
Olga Stepanova
as Zhenia's Mother
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Critic Reviews for Happiness

All Critics (49) | Top Critics (14)

As sharp as some of the writing is, Solondz is still not enough of a director to successfully negotiate this emotional minefield.

February 7, 2018 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Exhibits an almost pitch-perfect balance between condescension and compassion.

October 20, 2009 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

I, for one, would be thrilled to see Solondz's heart open in his future work. But it would be a mistake to flinch from the greatness of Happiness in the meantime.

January 1, 2000 | Full Review…

It is not a film for most people. It is certainly for adults only. But it shows Todd Solondz as a filmmaker who deserves attention, who hears the unhappiness in the air and seeks its sources.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

The world of Happiness is a bit off-kilter, which creates distance between you and the film. But if you look closer, you might get a glimpse of your own pathetic desires and contradictions.

December 9, 2021 | Full Review…

Happiness is tough stuff -- quietly confrontational, genuinely haunting, and, most disturbing of all, unexpectedly moving.

September 17, 2007 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Happiness

"Happiness" sure is an experience. It's an ensemble movie about miserable (and often terrible) people who are searching desperately to find ways to not be so sad anymore. I found it to be too long and didn't like the jumps in tonal extremes. I also felt that some of the stories are far less interesting than others (and the more interesting ones are also the most revolting). Still, with a great cast and engaging dialogue, it may be worth watching. Just make sure to take a shower after.

Sam Barnett
Sam Barnett

Super Reviewer


Todd Solondz 's film, present a jaw dropping dialoge, interesting characters, great black humor together with a tense drama, that show the life, relationships and strange sexuality of ordinary people trying to find they happiness in a disturb world. Happiness it's a bold, captivating, breathtaking and funny classic, of course Solondz's picture it's not for every audience, just the people that really understand black comedy and accept contoversial themes. It's also the first film, in a long time ago, that make a scene being sad, funny and surprising at the same time, just like Bill and Billy's last talk conclusion. Happiness is, without a doubt, one of best films from the 90's.

Lucas Martins
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

So many fascinating characters in one and the same movie! Indie films of this sort have a tendency to be pretentious, but I thought this was nothing of the kind. The tone is quite dark and often disturbing, but at the same it achieves a near-impossible balance, by being really funny in all its tragedy. Even Jon Lovitz, whom I don't like that much as an actor, pulls off a remarkably good performance (despite his appearance being limited to one scene alone). Every human on this planet wants to be happy, but sometimes things don't go according to plan, and this film does an excellent job at illustrating the pain, longings and dreams we all have and go through (altough some people's desires are more weird and sickening than others). In any case, this is one of the best indie flicks I've ever seen. A little draggy here and there, but with characters so addicting, that you're in constant anticipation of what they're gonna do next. Highly recommended, presuming you can endure the permeating awkwardness!

Mike S
Mike S

Super Reviewer

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