Friday, November 28, 2008


I've had Happiness at home for several days, maybe a week, and never quite felt like I could handle watching it. I saw it when it first came out (ten years ago! I can't believe it was that long ago!), so I knew it was intense and I was kind of scared of being depressed and over-identifying with the characters.

It's such a good movie. Very brutal scenes, brutal acting. It's about ordinary people, but there is so much disturbance in their emotional lives, that they aren't really ordinary. I don't think. Even if there's a lot of despair underneath most people's exterior, I don't think there is psychopathy. I don't know. What do I know.

The frank discussions about masturbation between father and son, Philip Seymour Hoffman masturbating while making crank phone calls, the father masturbating to the teen magazine in the car -- it was all kind of too intense for me. I was trying to eat a shrimp burrito and felt sickened. I also felt self-conscious, like if a camera were on me now, at home alone on a Saturday night watching a DVD on the computer with my ordered-in food amidst a messy apartment and three cats, and piles of printed out articles for the dissertation that is taking forever... Would I hold up to scrutiny? Could I be a character in a meanly yet tenderly drawn Solondz film?

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