Helen is a successful poet who nevertheless feels unhappy. Her sister, Trish, is a stay-at-home mom, married to Bill, a psychologist, with whom she has three children. Bill is a pedophile obsessed with an eleven-year-old boy who goes to school with his son. The eldest, Joy, more sensitive and dreamy, tries to give meaning to her personal and professional life, without much success. This peculiar family will be joined by other characters, all in search of a happiness that escapes them.


Featuring an ensemble cast with stars like Lara Flynn Boyle, Ben Gazzara, and the dearly-missed Philip Seymour Hoffman, Todd Solondz makes an impeccable and relentless film, extremely hard and caustic, which won the FIPRESCI prize at Cannes in 1998, among other awards, making him the indie filmmaker of the hour.


Title: Happiness
Year: 1998
Runtime: 139′
Country: USA
Direction: Todd Solondz
Screenplay: Todd Solondz
Cast: Jane Adams, Lara Flynn Boyle, Philip Seymour Hoffman
Cinematography: Maryse Alberti
Genre: Drama, Comedy

Wins and nominations

1998: Cannes Film Festival – FIPRESCI Award
1998 – Independent Spirit Awards – Nominated for Best Director, Actor (Dylan Baker) and Supporting Actor (Philip Seymour Hoffman)
1998 – National Board of Review – Best Cast
1998 – Golden Globes – Nominated for Best Screenplay