After his wife (Maibritt Saerens) has an affair with a another man, Sigve (Henrik Rafaelsen), moves his family and their adopted Ethiopian son Noa (Ram Shihab Ebedy) into the Norwegian countryside. The couple’s only neighbors are the perky Kaja (Agnes Kittelsen) whose sunny disposition is matched only by her husband’s (Joachim Rafaelsen) grumpy disinterest of everything to do with his wife.
Happy Happy, or Sykt lykkelig (it’s original Norwegian title which translates more exactly into “insanely happy” – which can have both a positive and negative conotation) reveals its secrets through Kaja’s intense loneliness and the brave smile under which she hides it.
Kaja’s affair with Sigve reveals both couples’ dysfunction. It’s obvious Sigve would rather spend his nights with Kaja, Elisabeth (Saerens) may have been better off with the man she was having an affair with, and Eirik’s (Rafaelsen) week long trips into the woods have far more to with his closeted urges than hunting game.
The screenplay by Ragnhild Tronvoll is an odd film filled with odd characters, each unable to find the happiness which eludes them. There’s also a strange subplot as Kaja’s son Theodor (Oskar Hernæs Brandsø) plays “slave” with Noa which is an uncomfortable storyline used mainly to showcase how wrapped up the adults are with their own troubles and how oblivious to what their children are up to right under their nose.
It’s not a film I’d recommend to everyone, but it has a unique voice and refreshingly un-Hollywood take on marital infidelity makes it worth a look for the right audience. Presented in Norwegian with English subtitles, the only extra included on the Blu-ray and DVD are the film’s trailer.
[Magnolia Home Entertainment, Blu-ray $29.98 / DVD $26.98]