As sick as it may sound, Todd Solondz’s impossibly bleak comedy “Happiness” is one of my favorite movies. Despite the story’s impossibly heavy subject matter, the film is one of the funniest, most honest portrayals of sadness and despair that I’ve ever encountered. And while the idea of a sequel intrigues, I’m not quite sure what to make of “Life During Wartime”. The boys and girls at Twitch have posted the latest trailer, a clip which contributes greatly to my skepticism. Still, it will be interesting to see where Solondz takes the story, especially considering he’s recast all of the characters.
Specifically, here’s what the film’s all about:
Separated from her incarcerated husband Bill (Hinds), Trish (Janney) is about to be married again. Bill is a pedophile, so Trish couldn’t be more excited to have Harvey (Lerner), a “normal” father figure for her two sons. But when Bill is released from prison and the boys finally meet their future stepdad, the family is forced to decide whether to forgive or to forget. Trish’s sister, the virginal, angelic Joy (Henderson), is also haunted by ghosts of lovers past. On leave from her degenerate husband, Allen (Williams), and her job at a New Jersey correctional facility, Joy unwittingly leaves behind a trail of shame and exposed secrets wherever she goes. In one of the film’s most stylized sequences, the image of Joy walking the dark streets of Miami in her nightgown maintains her innocence against a backdrop of self-affliction and desire.
“Life During Wartime”, which stars Shirley Henderson, Allison Janney, Michael Lerner, Ciaran Hinds, and Paul Reubens, will enjoy a limited theatrical run this July.