Happy Documentary Review

Happy has been a documentary I’ve come across several times while looking for new spiritual films and finally I decided to watch it last night. I took Happy over to my best friends house so we could watch together. We both are own our personal spiritual paths and get together to discuss books or watch movies or documentaries related to our studies. At first glance, Happy may not seem a spiritual film but it very much is.

But is it a good one?

Happy begins with a barrage of images from daily life. Everything shown is reflective of the American lifestyle; material things such as houses, cars,  advertisements of drinks and TV shows. Things we think will bring us happiness. A very interesting fact is made in the first five minutes about how depression(unhappiness) has been studied far more than happiness has been. I have my own personal opinion on why this is. It’s because of far more money in a person depression and unhappiness than there is in their being happy.

Happy states research has shown that our happiness is 50% genetic, 10% is made up of circumstances with the remaining 40% being intentional activity. That 10% is made up of the things we taught to focus on such as our job, wealth, material gains, health, and status.

So a whopping 40% of our happiness is up to us, it’s our decision. That’s a pretty big chunk of responsibility for an individual.

Happy interviews everyday people from various cultures and locations around the world. Once basic needs such as food and shelter are met, having wealth and material gains don’t guarantee happiness. Included in Happy are interviews with neuroscientists and psychologists. They discuss the main brain chemical related to happiness called Dopamine. Dopamine receptors die unless regularly used. To be happy we need to practice activities that release Dopamine. We exercise our bodies to keep fit so it’s only fitting we exercise our minds to keep the happy flowing.

Interviews from around the world include India, Brazil, Louisiana, and Okinawa. The Happy documentary introduced me to the term “karoshi” which means “death from overwork”. It’s actually put on death certificates in Japan where it’s found that people are living an all work and hardly any play lifestyle. This hard work working lifestyle is leading to record low happiness among Japanese people.

The segment on Melissa Moody is quite inspiring. Melissa Moody had half of her face crushed when she was dragged under a vehicle. Through many years of suffering and dealing with traumatic issues in life, she has become happier than she was before. Another segment that really stood out for me was Michael Pritchard speaking in a school gym about bullying and being kind to each other. Michael is a comedian and motivational speaker that I hadn’t heard of but his short appearance in Happy wants me to give a shout out to his work. Learn more about Michael Pritchard at www.michaelpritchard.com. In Michael’s segment, he asked several students to explain what it felt to be bullied and made fun of. It was powerful enough for me to shed a few tears. 

Happy is a great introduction to what makes up happy and that only brings temporary happiness(wealth, image, material gains). It shows that we can take an active part in our own happiness. When we are happy we tend to be more successful in the other areas of our life. Being happy benefits everyone! This movie should appeal to everyone since everyone seeks happiness.

To answer my earlier question, is this a good spiritual film? Yes. For a beginner, it’s a good introduction to happiness and for the more veteran path walker, it’s a great refresher. It’s an uplifting film and an hour well spent! It leads to a great discussion afterward with my friend.

It’s not often enough when something asks, what makes you happy?

Product Description

Does money make you happy? Kids and family? Your work? Do you live in a world that values and promotes happiness and well-being? Are we in the midst of a happiness revolution? HAPPY, the latest award-winning film from Academy Award® nominated director, Roko Belic (Genghis Blues) and Executive Producer, Tom Shadyac (Nutty Professor, Bruce Almighty, I AM), takes us on a journey from the swamps of Louisiana to the slums of Kolkata in search of what really makes people happy. Combining real-life stories of people from around the world and powerful interviews with the leading scientists in happiness research, HAPPY explores the secrets behind our most valued emotion.


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Can you measure happiness? Happy takes a look at the world to discover what makes us happy… and what we think makes us happy.

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