Happy Happy

Temporary Relief in Infidelity


11 September 2011| No Comments on Happy Happy     by Sean Chavel


Chilly emotions that will divide viewers between those who find it boring or those who find resonance. The Norwegian film Happy Happy, in English subtitles, does not extend far into infidelity drama territory that hasn’t been seen before, but it does have dramatic tension and a performance worth noting. Agnes Kittelsen is Kaja, a dissatisfied woman in a dreary marriage with Eirik (Joachim Rafaelsen), a man who considers it a labor to bother touching her. They rent out to a newly settled couple, Sigve (Henrik Rafaelsen) and Elisabeth (Maibritt Saerens), who have come to their sleepy snowbound town. They are a frisky and humorous pair – thank god for humor! The central aspect of the story is that Kaja recognizes what a loving marriage can be, envies Elisabeth, and eventually attempts to steal Sigve away. There are sex scenes – not that hot – but they do ring of truth of what adult sex looks like.

It is a good idea, I suppose, to have a scene where the foursome play a game where the object is to guess how their partner feels about them. That establishes immediate tension and reveals distance. There is drinking involved  and upstairs while showing Sigve around, Kaja makes a move on him. As it turns out, Sigve and Elisabeth are not as happy as they appear, having moved to a small town to reconcile a marriage that became troubled after an infidelity by Elisabeth. Now Sigve reciprocates, not exactly to get even with his wife, but because he feels appreciated.

Eirik is as coarse as a butt-scratching gorilla, but it is interesting as to why he is repelled by his wife: he thinks that Kaja doesn’t try hard enough to fix herself up or dress attractively. As for Elisabeth, she is an icy and controlling mensch despite her initial cheery exterior. In a skewed viewpoint, Kaja and Sigve make the most sense together. Kaja, who looks like a more attractive Jan Leeves, is a merrier, lively person because of Sigve. Conversely, Sigve, who looks like a Nordic Liam Neeson with a straighter nose, feels that he is sexually satisfying her as well as bringing her out of her miserable shell.

Infidelity is unearthed and egos collide, which leaves one wondering who is going to end up with what they want. There is an insinuation that director Anne Sewitsky wants to sympathize with everybody except Elisabeth, but as for screen time and camera attention is concerned, Kaja seems like the most important character and the one we want changed for the better. This movie is hardly exciting, but Agnes Kittelsen is an actress with authentic propensity to break her character’s shell. Thanks to her, there is some ecstasy in “Happy Happy” after all.

88 Minutes. Unrated.


Film Cousins: “Unfaithful” (2002); “Secretary” (2002); “Asylum” (2005); “Chloe” (2010).


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Sean Chavel

About The Author / Sean Chavel

Sean Chavel is a Hollywood based author and movie reviewer. He is the Executive Director of flickminute.com, a new website that has adapted the movie review site genre by introducing moodbased and movie experience based reviews.


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