Happy, Happy Anne Sewitsky

Happy, Happy Anne Sewitsky
Happy, Happy is the story of the interaction and intermingling of two couples in the snowy wilds of Norway. Danes Elisabeth (Maibritt Saerens) and Sigve (Henrik Rafaelsen) are an upwardly mobile pair who have escaped to the Norwegian countryside with their adopted African child, Noa (Ram Shihab Ebedy), in tow for some rest and relaxation, and, as it turns out, to patch up their marriage after Elisabeth's brief affair. Their neighbours are the sweet but simple Kaja (Agnes Kittelsen), reticent husband Eirik (Joachim Rafaelsen), and their son, Theodor (Oskar Hernæs Brandsø). Be it due to the long, dark Scandinavian winter, the general ennui or the infamous Nordic promiscuity, Kaja and Sigve find themselves in each other's arms, while Elisabeth and Eirik deal with their repression. Largely a domestic relationship drama, and perhaps a more stoic version of popular Hollywood suburban angst movies like American Beauty and Little Children, Happy, Happy aptly uses its frigid setting to explore the speed in which affairs can take off when close quarters and boredom are added to the mix. Sigve and Kaja are two wildly different people whose paths would likely never cross in the city, but here they both fill an emotional and physical need for each other, as a clandestine blowjob turns into naked snow gallivanting with relative haste. Rafaelsen, who looks and sounds disarmingly like a younger Liam Neeson, is a strong presence whose aloofness affords a sense of mystery to a fairly straightforward story, and Kittelsen, a relative newcomer who's given a fair amount of responsibility as the film's dynamic presence, is particularly good at traversing both pathetic and sympathetic. While the film isn't particularly dark or grim, it could have used a bit of levity to accelerate its proceedings or distinguish it from your garden-variety domestic infidelity drama, and one is left with a sense of emptiness when things wrap up rather neatly. Still, director Sewitsky proves herself promising. The DVD includes a selection of trailers. (Mongrel Media)