This Film Made Me Happy: A Review of HappyThankYouMorePlease

This film made me happy. Thank you. And, if possible, I'd like more please.

Now that I've gotten that out of the way, I can proceed with this review.

HappyThankYouMorePlease is a wholly delightful film, which is exactly what it sets out to be. It is funny, endearing, touching, and saccharine sweet in a wonderful way. Other films this sweet may be too much to handle. HappyThankYouMorePlease somehow pulls it off.

It does this by being honest about its belief that there's no reason not to be happy.

HappyThankYouMorePlease is a cry against cynicism, a quality which some claim defines today's twenty-somethings. This is a film that says, "Yeah. I get it. You're cynical about life. You may have good reason to be, but really you've got it pretty good, all things considered, and even if you don't, life is much better lived happy. Choose happiness, and you'll find it everywhere you look."

The story centers on a group of interconnected friends living in New York City. They help each other through the travails of life as only friends can. That may sound like a "been there, done that" kind of premise, and honestly, it is, but HappyThankYouMorePlease, like the twenty-somethings it portrays, is charming in its earnestness if not in its novelty.

Undergirding the entire narrative is the conviction that people are worthy of love, both to love and to be loved. That is a beautiful conviction out of which to live. That is the beautiful, mysterious conviction at the heart of the gospel as well—because God loves the world, God saves the world. Too often and by too many people, we have been told that we are somehow broken, dirty, undesirable, and unworthy of love. This is simply not true. We have not fallen into mud that decomposes our bones and makes us unattractive; we have been raised from the muck and made alive by a holy kiss. God loves. God loves. God loves. Believe it.

I was able to attend a screening of this film with HappyThankYouMorePlease's writer/director/star Josh Radnor. During the discussion, he stated that he was trying to make a film that helped people live with a little more grace in the world. I think he succeeded. Cynicism may be an easy way to live, but cynicism also makes one selfish. Cynicism says, "Don't believe in good. Don't expect good. Don't give good." Allowing oneself to be loved, to expect to be loved, is a much more difficult and daring enterprise, but it also encourages us to love others.

As Christians, we believe that love is at the core of this universe. Let's take the advice of this film, and live into the reality of the universe God has made.

3/31/2011 4:00:00 AM
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  • Elijah Davidson
    About Elijah Davidson
    Elijah Davidson is the Co-Director of Reel Spirituality at Fuller Seminary's Brehm Center for theology, arts and culture. Follow his reflections via Twitter, or at the Brehm Center blog and the Reel Spirituality website.