6.5/10
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11 user 64 critic

Happy, Happy (2010)

Sykt lykkelig (original title)
Family is the most important thing in the world to Kaja. She is an eternal optimist in spite of living with a man who would rather go hunting with the boys, and who refuses to have sex with... See full summary »

Director:

Anne Sewitsky

Writers:

Mette M. Bølstad (dramaturge), Anne Sewitsky | 1 more credit »
5 wins & 7 nominations. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview:
Agnes Kittelsen ... Kaja
Joachim Rafaelsen Joachim Rafaelsen ... Eirik
Maibritt Saerens ... Elisabeth
Henrik Rafaelsen ... Sigve
Oskar Hernæs Brandsø Oskar Hernæs Brandsø ... Theodor
Ram Shihab Ebedy Ram Shihab Ebedy ... Noa
Heine Totland Heine Totland ... Kordirigent
Hans Martin Austestad Hans Martin Austestad ... Mann i dress 1
Nils Christian Fossdal Nils Christian Fossdal ... Mann i dress 2
Håkon Rasmussen Håkon Rasmussen ... Mann i dress 3
Mattis Myrland Mattis Myrland ... Mann i dress 4
Oslo Reiselivskor Oslo Reiselivskor ... Kor
Learn more

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Storyline

Family is the most important thing in the world to Kaja. She is an eternal optimist in spite of living with a man who would rather go hunting with the boys, and who refuses to have sex with her because she isn't particularly attractive anymore. Whatever. That's life. But when the perfect couple moves in next door, Kaja struggles to keep her emotions in check. Not only do these successful, beautiful, exciting people sing in a choir; they have also adopted a child - from Ethiopia. These new neighbors open a new world to Kaja, with consequences for everyone involved. And when Christmas comes around, it becomes evident that nothing will ever be like before - even if Kaja tries her very best. Written by Official site

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

any reason not to be?

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexual content including brief graphic nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Norway's official submission to the Best Foreign Language Film category of the 84th Academy Awards 2012. See more »

Soundtracks

Amazing Grace
Written by John Newton
Performed by Hans Martin Austestad (as H. M. Austestad), Nils Christian Fossdal (as N. C. Fossdal), Håkon Rasmussen (as H. Rasmussen) and Mattis Myrland (as M. Myrland)
Arr. Wenche Losnegård
See more »

User Reviews

 
Agnes Kittelsen in a breakout performance; Two couples make the mistake of comparing relationships
27 September 2011 | by chaz-28See all my reviews

There are four main characters in Happy, Happy because it is about two couples; however, one of them really shines through and becomes such a pleasure to watch that it really does not matter what happens with the plot or any of the other players, she is just stunning. I am talking about Agnes Kittelsen who plays Kaja. She is almost always smiling, even when there are situations when there is nothing to smile about. She exudes positive energy and cannot help it when her actions either makes someone else around her happy or rubs someone else the wrong way.

Kaja is married to Eirik (Joachim Rafaelsen) and they appear to live in the middle of nowhere Norway. They not only own their own house, but also the one next door which they rent out to people who are usually looking to get away from the city. A city couple from Denmark does exactly that when they abruptly shift from urban to rural. The new couple next door is Sigve (Henrik Rafaelsen) and Elisabeth (Maibritt Saerens). Since there is not much else to do in the immediate locale, the two couples start sharing dinners together and playing games. These games lead to uncomfortable couple comparisons which is never a good thing. Comparing your relationship to someone else's is not the way to end the evening on a high note.

During one game, it emerges that Kaja and Eirik have not had sex in over a year and that Elisabeth has recently cheated on Sigve which was a catalyst in their decision to escape to the countryside. The couples also notice the personality clashes and matches around the dinner table. Kaja and Sigve are naturally extroverted and outwardly positive. Elisabeth and Eirik are much more reserved and while not necessarily secretive, they do not have the impulse to share their feelings around the room. These situations and personalities obviously set up what may lead to adulterous liaisons, secrets, and acrimony. However, this is not a heavy handed drama about adultery and revenge. There are laughs, comedic scenes, and an overall light air around the decisions these couples make in response to one another.

Each couple also has a son, although Sigve and Elisabeth's son is adopted and black. There are scenes between the two boys, who seem to be around seven years old, which do the film no credit and do not fit. Their sequences are only peripheral to the plot and have no bearing on any central themes, which is all the more puzzling why they are even there. Their interactions disrupt the light flow and mood of the movie and should either be completely rewritten or just taken out.

Happy, Happy won the Grand Jury Prize for Dramatic World Cinema at this year's Sundance Film Festival and is also Norway's official submission for the 2012 Academy Awards. It approaches its characters with maturity and understanding, characteristics true for most Scandinavian films but frequently lacking in American ones. It is also challenging to classify Happy, Happy as just a comedy or a drama. There are not very many jokes or moments to laugh at but there are also very few emotional moments which aim for true drama either; it carves out a distinct middle ground.

I recommend Happy, Happy for those of us who like Scandinavian films and appreciate movies which take their characters seriously. Thank goodness there are no slapstick moments here which would not fit and no downright weepy 'woe is me' segments. Just lose the scenes with the kids and then you would really have a heck of film on your hands.


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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

Norway

Language:

Norwegian | Danish | German

Release Date:

16 September 2011 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Happy, Happy See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,125, 18 September 2011

Gross USA:

$45,154

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$620,238
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Maipo Film See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Dolby

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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