Happy (2011)

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Released 19-Jul-2012

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary None
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 2011
Running Time 73:00
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Roko Belic

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Roko Belic
Gregory Berns
Roy Blanchard
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
The Dalai Lama
Richard Davidson
Ed Diener
Daniel Gilbert
Tim Kasser
Sonja Lyubomirsky
Nic Marks
P. Read Montague
Melissa Moody
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music Mark Adler

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     What, after all, is happiness?

     After reading a New York Times article in 2005 Oscar winning documentarian Roko Belic asked himself the very same question. The article posed the riddle - why is it that Americans, who seemingly "have it all", ranked 23rd on surveys of happiness? Why is it that people from poor nations often ranked higher? The article focussed on the tiny nation of Bhutan where the government had turned away from the importance of the GNP to concentrate on the far more indefinable Gross National Happiness.

     The film is clever enough to provide ideas on happiness without pretending to have a single answer. Belic travels the world to interview a group of people from all walks of life who have found happiness. There are stories of triumph over adversity, coping with tragedy and finding the small good things along the way. The film also relies heavily on interviews with practitioners of positive philosophy, which sounds like a lot of New Agey stuff but really just means using psychology to understand how things go right rather than just treating the bad mental states.

     So is money the enemy? Not really, as one psychologist says - money can buy happiness for the guy living under the bridge but not the man already living in the mansion. As it turns out money simply creates a more expensive lifestyle which craves more money.

     It is perhaps not surprising that these studies suggest the importance of a sense of community. As much as we like to see happiness coming from material success it seems that deep down each of us wishes to make others happy and be of some importance. Having others around us that share our vision and love and care for us is of vital importance. So for the German businessman who gave up his successful career in order to work with the dying in India satisfaction comes from easing the suffering of those who felt unloved. For a single mother in Denmark, one of the happiest countries, the sense of community is found in a shared accommodation with a group of other families where all contribute to the well-being of the group.

     The film strikes the right blend of human interest and science. Any more psychologists on-screen and it may have become something of a technical exercise. Yet these thinkers are necessary to give meaning to the life stories on show.

     For some this film will be a life changing experience. Many of us struggle through our working and social lives without understanding why the trappings of success don't make us happy. This film is not the solution to unhappiness but it does lead the way to improve daily life. Not everybody can go to live in a community or invent relatives where none exist. But it is possible to improve our lot simply by adopting a more positive outlook.

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Transfer Quality


     Happy comes to DVD in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. This appears to be consistent with its original aspect ratio.

     The film appears to have been shot entirely on digital video. It integrates talking head footage with some eminent psychologists and footage from the director's travels around the World. The image quality of all is pleasing without being exceptional. The colours are bright and clear.

     There are no technical problems to speak of.

     There are subtitles in English. Additionally, some scenes have burned in subtitles where the language spoken is not English.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


     Happy has a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track running at 448 Kb/s. There is also an English 2.0 track.

     Both are acceptable as audio for this film, which largely consists of voice over and spoken word. So don't expect any activity from the surrounds or sub-woofer.

     The voice over is by noted motivational speaker and happiness expert Marci Shimoff. Her experience in public speaking assists in giving weight and emotional depth to the material.

     The dialogue is clear and easy to understand.

     There are no technical problems with the tracks.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


     There are no extras. However, going to the official site has a host of links and information.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.


     This DVD appears to be the same worldwide.


     Happy will be much loved and absorbed by those who have leanings towards a higher purpose in life however it sails close enough to science to be fascinating for non-spiritual people like me.

     The DVD is of decent quality in sound and vision terms.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Trevor Darge (read my bio)
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Review Equipment
DVDCambridge 650BD (All Regions), using HDMI output
DisplaySony VPL-VW80 Projector on 110" Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer SC-LX 81 7.1
SpeakersAaron ATS-5 7.1

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