Happily Movie Recommendation Explained

Happily Movie Recommendation Explained
Reader Rating1 Votes

Happily is extraordinarily quirky. Sometimes it works brilliantly, and occasionally misfires. On the whole, I absolutely adored what Happily was doing here. I had fun with the movie, I had fun with the concept. But mainly, I had a ton of fun with what the movie was trying to say. But what was it trying to say actually? Maybe we ought to explain the movie Happily and see if we can come to an agreement on what it is exactly that Happily is trying to say. Because, I feel, that there might be a couple competing messages going on here. So, let’s talk this movie through – see where it ends up – and then see if we can suss out what it might be all about.

But as always – do not continue on if you haven’t seen the movie yet. Tssk Tssk. You can watch Happily for a couple bucks, right here on Amazon. Or Microsoft? I mean, it’s everywhere.

Happily Movie Walkthrough

The movie deals with Tom (Joel McHale – Assassination Nation, The IT Crowd, Community) and Janet (Kerry Bishé who was brilliant in Halt and Catch Fire – wait, have I never extolled the brilliance of Halt here? Season 1 was perfect. Loved it – and also Penny Dreadful) who are crazy in love with one another. They have sex all the time, they are best friends, and they enjoy everything about each other in spite of the fact that they’ve been married for years. (This is 100% the conversation right here. That’s all of it.)

But when they are uninvited from a weekend getaway because all their friends disdain their blissful relationship, they don’t quite know what to do. Then a man named Goodman (Stephen Root – Excuse me, I believe you have my stapler) arrives, tells them that they were anomalies that accidentally got off the manufacturing floor without a proper QA check (or something like that) and that he has a solution. They take this shot, get paid a pile of money for their inconvenience, and then move on with the rest of their lives like everyone else. But Janet isn’t keen on the idea, and she murders the man. Panicked, and not sure quite what to do, they bury him, and attempt to go on with their lives.

Soon after, the couple are re-invited to the couples getaway… ???. And so they go, attempting to act as normally as possible while also trying to find out who might have sent him. At first they suspect it was a practical joke from their friends, and they are just waiting for the other shoe to drop. They then begin to suspect another of their friends, but it turns out that she is just conning them all out of money. Turns out Goodman offered the amazing house to her for free, and she is just collecting their friends cash to fund a cash shortage after her husband was fired from his job. Along the way, Tom and Karen, one of their friends, have an affair after Tom believes she has injected him with Goodman’s drug.

Then Janet and Tom begin to wonder if maybe it wasn’t any of their friends at all, but some sort of cosmic thing. Why? Because Goodman, the man with the proposition, reappears perfectly alive and well. When they finally tell their friends about what has been happening to them, they all try to leave Goodman’s home, but they can’t because the house is walled off, and the walls are electrified. They are then told they are going to sit and have a conversation.

As the conversation starts, they begin confessing the various failings in their lives. One admits to stealing their money. One admits to affairs. Another is outed for beating his wife. The confessions continue until it comes out that Tom and Karen have had an affair, an affair with two people in the room actually. And with that, they are all allowed to leave.

Goodman tells Tom and Janet that they did a great job, that they did “it” in record time. But Janet wants none of it. “What, you are going to explain it all for us now? Well don’t, because it doesn’t matter. I don’t care if you are God, or if you are an angel, or if you are from the future. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you are trying to do. Because as far as I’m concerned, you are just an asshole.” She then turns to Tom and tells him that they are going to just go home.

As the movie ends, we can see the ripples of the confessions hit everyone. We watch as the woman who was being physically abused, shoots her husband dead. We watch as another couple forgive each other for their indiscretions. And finally, we watch as Tom and Janet drive away. And ultimately, Janet realizes that it isn’t worth it to stay mad at her husband, and the movie ends as they make love on the side of the road.

Explain What the Movie Happily Is Saying

I found the moral questions here really interesting. As the movie ends, we see that from a meta-discussion level, the movie didn’t want to explain what really was happening here. That the moral prime mover didn’t matter, i.e.: God, Satan, Time Traveler. Which is interesting in and of itself… but basically the screenplay is doing an end around on the physical explanations that most movies normally give. Right? The Deus Ex Machina of Happily – what is the prime mover? Who is this “Goodman” fellow, and what is he all about? Is he God? god? An angel? Satan? The movie isn’t having any of that. Janet attempted to kill God – that didn’t go too well, and now here they are, dealing with the moral implications of what is in their laps.

“God is dead, and we have killed him.” Nietzsche

It is interesting to parse the movie’s morality – and attempt to discern the moral rules and guidelines. They literally posit a specific set of rules and guidelines within the confines of this movie:

  1. Being judgmental is a crime punishable by being called an asshole.
  2. Stealing from your friends is uncool, but understandable if you’ve recently lost your job.
  3. Infidelity is uncool, but forgivable.
  4. And Abuse? That is punishable by death.

Are there others? I’m sure there are others. But the movie’s overarching message, the most interesting lesson to be learned here – at least from my perspective anyway… is that we cannot allow our inevitable failings to keep us from happiness… or living happily (ever after). Forgive each other, and do your best to live blissfully in love in spite of what the world at large is telling you is normal. I think anyway… no? Something like that anyway! hahah. I do have opinions about what it is trying to say about God… but I’ll let those go. They are pretty obvious, and I’m not much in the mood for pedantry right now. hahaha.

Regardless, it’s a clever little indie flick that is trying to do something different – so kudos to them. The search for a suspect was a little silly, but worked okay to move the story from point A to point B. Obviously wasn’t perfect… but it was enjoyable enough to keep me entertained all the way to Oregon anyway! hahaha.