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Happy Happy [DVD]

Agnes Kittelsen , Henrik Rafaelsen , Anne Sewitsky    Suitable for 15 years and over   DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: 6.09 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Agnes Kittelsen, Henrik Rafaelsen, Joachim Rafaelsen
  • Directors: Anne Sewitsky
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: Norwegian
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: TLA Releasing
  • DVD Release Date: 25 Feb 2013
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 43,146 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)


Product Description

Family is the most important thing in the world to Kaja, an eternal optimist in spite of living with a man who would rather go hunting with the boys than take her to bed. Whatever. That's life. But when the perfect couple moves in next door, Kaja struggles to keep her emotions in check, suddenly finding herself with a whole new set of problems when she grows a little too friendly with married neighbour Eirik. Sundance award winner and a true shining star amongst the new wave of Scandinavian films, HAPPY HAPPY is both sharply funny and genuinely touching.

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Customer Reviews

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4.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars when families arent happy 1 Mar 2013
By cartoon
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This is a rather odd norwegian film and I am not sure that I would call it a comedy , but it is certainly querky and has a charm that will appeal to those who enjoyed Together [ a far more superior tale ] . Its a story about new neighbours and the changes they make to a rather unhappy family [ I did find the children playing slaves rather difficult to watch ] . Its also a story about how a woman discovers herself again and about the compromises made in marriage . And its also a story that suddenly rushes its ending and finishes with the feeling of oh .... is that the ending .... the audience is suddenly cheated and I was left feeling rather unimpressed. Note also that this might be distributed by TLA but I wouldnt describe it as a gay film . In fact some of the trailers at the start confused me and I was always expected that Kaja was going to decide she was a lesbian , which she didnt .
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars quality product 12 Jan 2013
By Ld
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
arrived on time and well wrapped. Not great film, but ok for me who is a student of Scandinavian languages.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Crazy & Tender 17 May 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Although it's a few months now since I bought it, I'm glad I did as I found it very entertaining! It's all about trust & distrust.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.8 out of 5 stars  9 reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Weird Potpourri 17 Feb 2012
By G. Teslovich - Published on
Potpourri is a mix of stuff with little logical connection amongst the mix. This movie pot revolves around two married couples one of which has moved into a rental house (in isolated Norway) that is next door to it's owners - also a married couple. An incongruous assemblage. The couple that moved in are highly educated with an adopted young African son. The owning couple, less educated, has a son who mercilessly torments the other boy because he's black and withdrawn most likely because he's suddenly with white parents in snowy white Norway. The two couples each have their secrets which, predictably, concerns sex and compassionate understanding thus the movie's tension. Resolution comes in some surreptitious sex (little is shown). There's no tele or radio but there is some wireless web access. They interact by a few shared dinners followed by awkward after-dinner guessing games. Singing in the nearby town's choir is the only activity we see outside of the homes but plays an important role.

What's weird, almost comical, is how each person comes to grips with their personal secret - trust, sex, understanding, self-confidence. Even for the adopted boy reading for the first time about how slavery relates to him, then followed by the positive counterpoint of seeing President Obama on the web. Strange, but entertaining, are the frequent random scene breaks where a singing group that look like suited CIA/Matrix types belt out bluesy, gospel, rap songs in English; all the more strange in a Norwegian film.
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars HAPPY, HAPPY Is Mostly Everything But 29 Feb 2012
By Edward Lee - Published on
I found HAPPY, HAPPY a bit of a quandary. It's a film that's not quite certain what it wants to be, except possibly to be labeled with the adjective "original," which it isn't all that much. Someone over at apparently found it "hilarious and incisive," which it really wasn't, either. Parts of the film clearly are intended to be humorous - maybe quirkily charming in some foreign-ish, philandering way - but it's entire leaps and bounds from either "hilarious" or "incisive." And someone at Variety apparently dubbed it "a winning comedy" ... but winning at what? Drama? Comedy? Melodrama? Contemporary marital horror nightmare? What?

At best, HAPPY, HAPPY is a character study in exaggeration, as none of these characters came off feeling all that legitimate to me. According to the film's press materials: "Family is the most important thing in the world to Kaja" ... yet, twenty minutes into the film, Kaja apparently believes performing oral sex on a near-total stranger in the room next to where her husband is waiting for her to come out of the bathroom is ok, so that kinda/sorta negates the whole premise of Kaja finding the concept of "family" all that important. Doesn't it? Not proof enough for ya? Well, forty minutes into the flick, Kaja is running naked through a frozen Winter countrywide - all hot & bothered from having just given the near-total stranger another bout of oral madness - while her son is walking up the drive. Of course, he sees mommy in the buff, frolicking as she is in the snow with someone who ain't dear ol' dad. Welcome to therapy, kid. Yeah, that whole concept of "family" sure ain't selling this picture!

Now, to be fair to the character of Kaja, family really ain't all that important to her. On that level - family not mattering - almost everything she does makes perfect sense to me, from the risky fellatio to the extramarital sex while her `closeted homo' husband is parking the car out front. Despite these proclivities - I say "despite these proclivities!" - Agnes Kittelsen imbues Kaja with a kind of small-town charm - the forever mousey girl-next-door - so much that you really can't dislike her. Maybe you can fault her, but it's hard to H-A-T-E her. See, Kaja doesn't find herself all that attractive; yet she has a small frame with delicate features and an infectious smile! For some reason, Kaja believes she's in a great marriage - with some of its own little shortcomings like a husband who ignores her and a son who treats her poorly - but, thankfully by the film's conclusion, she's come to grips with the reality. Her relationship is far from healthy, and it only took behaving like a child to turn her into an adult. While her unfaithful (and gay, don't forget) husband refuses to leave her, she'll leave him ... even though that essentially means that he'll be living in the cottage they keep out back.


If you approach HAPPY, HAPPY with a kind of lyrical `Bizarro World' mentality (up = down; down = up; HAPPY, HAPPY = SAD, SAD), the film makes vastly more sense, though it won't be for most people's tastes. It isn't irony so much as it is a study in opposites: the `perfect couple' that moves in next door is `far from perfect' as both of them give in to infidelity before and after we get to know them. It's this kind of idea - the study of opposites - that serves as a metaphor underlying the entire film. In fact, it gets so obvious that Kaja's boy (who is white) plays with the perfect couple's son (who is black while his "visible" parents are white, and it's never clearly established as to whether or not he's adopted or whether he's the result of the wife's established previous infidelity) ... and therein lies the principle problem when you're dealing with a study of opposites:

At which point has the world been set right? Do we know ... or will it always be this way?

It's never clear, or perhaps it's best to conclude that it's never clearly answered. However, you'll be glad to know that the `perfect couple' seemingly reconciles in what appears little more than a cookie-cutter "I miss you" moment that defies the logic (opposites) already established for the picture. (Shouldn't it have been "I don't miss you"?) They destroyed one another in their respective journeys to find one another ... or some other Hollywoodish nonsense that only appears in movies. At the end, everyone is HAPPY, HAPPY, so that's all that matters.

Also, the film has a disturbing subplot involving the two young boys which revolves around that never-ending source for comedy: slavery. In short, the little white boy gives the little black boy a book depicting the practices of slavery, and the two of them endure several supporting vignettes wandering about the house re-creating various stages of the slave/master relationship. See, that's all well and good ... right up until you see the little white boy whipping the little black boy ... and suddenly I'm left asking myself the questions of how so many film critics found the picture "beguiling ... hugely enjoyable" (according to the Star Tribune).

Maybe it's me, but I didn't see the title as being indicative of anything massively ironic in the story. I guess that I just find it hard to either feel sympathy or some hidden cinematic kinship for characters who make increasingly bad decisions - one worse than the next - where it involves the adult maturation of any relationship, much less the sanctity of marriage. Kaja's secretly unhappy; her husband's secretly unhappy; the perfect couple are secretly unhappy; the kids are secretly unhappy ... is this all there is to their (or our) shared experiences? I'd hope not.

To my surprise, HAPPY, HAPPY is not morose. Not in the slightest. These characters embrace their foibles, and, on that level they make it work as best as they can. In fact, I'd watch the luminous Agnes Kittelsen in anything based on her work here. She elevates it so much, and she breathes so much likeability into a character whose actions are everything but likeable that I couldn't look away any time she was on screen. The others here - while they did exemplary work - felt a little too safe, a little too predictable, felt way too similar to characters the audience has probably seen in hundreds of other feature films that dabbled closely with similar themes. But Ms. Kittelsen is all the rage here, and she's the only reason why I'd give this any recommendation. She seemingly inhabits Kaja, and, while you may not want to be her, you can appreciate her as a character despite the irony of her screen existence.

Methinks the good folks at Sundance (they awarded it the "Winner: World Cinema Jury Award") really need to come to grips with the fact that most people don't live their lives the way characters in movies do. Granted, life is never easy, and people around the world make the choices they do with the best available information they have at the time, and, somehow, I think that's lurking somewhere near the mildly depraved if not downright confused heart of HAPPY, HAPPY. "Believing you're happy" and "living as though you're happy" are two different realities, as Kaja comes to accept, and so should the people who dish out Sundance jury awards. Who knows? Maybe it's just me. Maybe I'm the cynic here, and these characters - though they bear no resemblance to anyone I know or have met - are the norm. Maybe there is a fairy tale with a fairy tale ending, but most likely it won't be found anywhere near a bunch of snobby film elites in some Colorado ski town.

Recommended for fans of indie pictures only

In the interests of fairness, I'd like to thank the people of Magnolia Home Entertainment for providing me with a screener DVD for the purposes of completing this review.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slow but compelling 10 Jun 2012
By D. Scott - Published on
The pace of this film will be too slow for some people, but I found it to be interesting and engaging, and I wanted to see what would happen next (don't read too many reviews; there are unmarked spoilers among them!).

The main character, Kaja, sings "Amazing Grace" on Christmas Eve with her church choir near the end of the movie, and I found the symbolism of the lyrics to be particularly appropriate.

Though not all the issues are revolved (or even addressed) by the end of the film, and it's certainly not a neat and pat ending, it is, nevertheless, satisfying and hopeful. I'm a very harsh movie critic, so even though I've only given it three stars, to me, that means that it's a solidly watchable film.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not really a comedy but entertaining and good 2 April 2012
By Gary Denton - Published on
In backwoods Norway a young married couple with a son rent their adjoining house to another young family from the city. Everyone discovers something about themselves in this quirky independent entertaining film.

There are a lot of plots taking place at once.
The rural couple has an unhappy marriage and the perky wife Kaja is getting less perky and more horny.
The new couple have moved out to the country when the husband discovered his wife's affair and wanted a change of scenery. They have a black son, possibly adopted but it could also be the mother's from another man.
The rural white child is disturbed from the strained family dynamics and can be bullying and insulting.
The younger quiet black boy is just discovering what it means to be black in a white world.
The new couple and the perky wife join a church chorus as she has always wanted to sing but had been told she had a terrible voice.
There is a male quartet who does American standard musical interludes as a Greek chorus. (Are they connected with the church choir?)
The two couples interact over dinners and games and secrets and passions are revealed.

The acting is great as is the photography. There is a great soundtrack. It almost becomes a quirky comedy but it also almost becomes a darker more unhappy film and this tension continues to the end. There is a lot of love and finding yourself in this movie and most importantly it treats the audience as well as the screen couples as grown-ups. The story is about problems but they might yet work out as life moves on.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Happy to have Experienced happy, happy 29 Mar 2012
By Amazon Woman - Published on
happy, happy:

Photography, excellent!
Music, lyrics, entertaining!
Plot, quirky but intriguing.
Subtitles easy to follow.
Interesting look into the perplexing world of human relationships.
I recommend this movie. Wear headphones for the music! I'd purchase
a happy, happy cd for the soundtrack.

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