LION’S GATE has released the previously available “HAPPINESS” as part
of their “Signature Series.” Unfortunately, it’s merely a repackaging of the
previously available TRIMARK release. Still, if one doesn’t already own
“HAPPINESS”, we highly recommend it.
Written and directed by Todd Solondz(Welcome to the Dollhouse)it explores
various toxic relationships with an unapologetic eye. Nothing is off limits in
this film. The film’s opening sequence involves a psychologist revealing his
own twisted fantasies, involving mass killing to another therapist. As more
layers are revealed we also find this troubled man is a pedophile, drugging his
young son’s friends to have his way with them at sleepover parties. But, he’s
only one of the twisted, tormented characters in “HAPPINESS.” As the film
unfolds, we find virtually every character has a dark, unattractive side, and,
again, as more layers are pulled back, even more troubling characteristics are
revealed. For one character, “honesty” and kindness not only go unappreciated,
but, she’s actually grossly ridiculed for having these traits. While Solondz
may at first come across as being cruel, he’s really not. He’s just gifted at
pointing out the cruelty that exists in others, and it makes one more
The cast is outstanding, bringing a sense of honesty and great humor to scenes
so disturbing they’d be unbearable with less gifted actors.
As mentioned, LION’S GATE chose not to remaster the old TRIMARK disc. So, this
one is non-anamorphic as well. The image is still decent, but there’s frequent
artifacting. Colors are fine, although never vibrant. Contrast is adequate,
though darker scenes lack the definition found in many other LION’S GATE
LION’S GATE has provided the same Dolby Digital 2.0 mix. This dialogue-driven
comedy isn’t aggressive, nor does it need to be. However, there’s a decent
amount of separation found in the front soundstage. Dialogue is always
intelligible and free from distortion.
A theatrical trailer is included.