Director: Roko Belic
Review by Caspar Walsh
Happy is a spirit lifting exploration into the way we think and feel and how our thoughts and actions can make us happy.
There are a growing number of important and affecting documentaries being made about the crises we are in politically, economically and environmentally, but we need more films like Happy to instil a feeling that we can turn this all around. It structures a positive story, with good news upfront and throughout, while keeping an eye on the causes of unhappiness and their remedies.
Rather than using mind-numbing research to illustrate its powerful but simple point, it uses human stories from around the world; from a smiling, poor, wonderfully content rickshaw driver in Calcutta to an amazingly lively 106-year-old woman from Okinawa.
What each storyteller cites as the root of their life-long happiness isn’t rocket science: community, family, a roof over your head, food in your belly and lots of friends to laugh, cry and celebrate life with. I believe most of us know what happiness is and how to achieve it but it often feels out of reach. One key ingredient conveyed in Happy is in seeing what we already have in our lives and not grasping more of that stuff we don’t really need. As John Ruskin said: “There is no wealth but life.” Happiness can be found in the simplest things by everyone, you just need to know where and how to look. Start here. Smile on.