Happiness is a 1998 American black comedy-drama film written and directed by Todd Solondz, that portrays the lives of three sisters, their families, and those around them. The film was awarded the FIPRESCI Prize at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival for "its bold tracking of controversial contemporary themes, richly-layered subtext, and remarkable fluidity of visual style," and the cast received the National Board of Review award for best ensemble performance.
Trish Maplewood (Cynthia Stevenson), the eldest Jordan sister, is an upper middle class housewife married to psychiatrist Bill Maplewood (Dylan Baker) and has three children. She appears to have the perfect marriage, but she is unaware of Bill's secret life: he is a pedophile who is obsessed with 11-year-old Johnny Grasso, a classmate of their son, Billy (Rufus Read). When Johnny comes to the Jordan house for a sleepover, Bill drugs and rapes him. Later, Bill learns that another boy, Ronald Farber, is home alone while his parents are away in Europe. Under the guise of attending a PTA meeting, Bill drives to the boy's house and rapes him, as well. After Johnny is taken to the hospital and found to have been sexually abused, the police arrive at the Maplewood residence to question Bill. After alerting his wife to the police presence, Bill begins by asking the two detectives, "You said something about Ronald Farber?" The two detectives, looking puzzled, say nothing. Bill then stammers, "I mean, Johnny Grasso." Out on bail, he tearfully admits to Billy that he "fucked" the boys, that he enjoyed it, and that he would do it again. When Billy asks, "Would you ever fuck me?", his father replies, "No... I'd jerk off, instead."
|award||National Board of Review: Top Ten Films|
|keywords||abuse anhedonia attack bail begin child sexual abuse divorce ejaculate ejaculation end europe expect home alone incapable of feeling jerk off kill married meet middle class nothing obsess parent-teacher association pedophile pedophilia phone call psychiatrist psychiatry pta rape reject russian russian people secret life sexually abused strike successful author teach upper middle class|
|producer||David Linde James Schamus|
|theme||black comedy independent satirical|