Todd Solondz’s Happiness ranks high amongst the most ironically-titled films ever made. There’s not one happy person in the character lot, just a Jordan family from Jersey that’s full of dysfunctional people battling sick personal demons while all doing terrible, uncomfortable-to-watch things. Orchestrated by writer-director Solondz with a blurred sense of what’s funny and what’s heart-rippingly sad.
That fuzzy tonal choice is clear as day in a devastating, emotionally-pulverizing final exchange between a sexually-confused son and his pedophile of a father (the great character actor Dylan Baker, checking in with a wonderfully restrained performance in Happiness). As the scene progresses and responses are given that you’d never expect to hear, it becomes tougher to decide whether you should be laughing or sobbing. For me, it’s the former, though more giggles based in disbelief and repulsion.
In an overall powerful and bizarre film, this scene brings down the house. A must watch [After the jump]: