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DVD Review

DVD cover

Happy Tears


Starring: Parker Posey, Demi Moore, Rip Torn and Ellen Barkin
High Fliers Films
RRP: £12.99
Certificate: 15
Available 11 October 2010

Jayne (Parker Posey) and Laura (Demi Moore) have grown up and apart, with Jayne becoming successful, while Laura has been stuck at home looking after their father (Rip Torn) whose dementia is getting worse, when Jayne returns home old wounds are reopened and new ones formed over the stress of looking after their father...

Happy Tears (2009 - 1 hr 31 min 51 sec) is an independent comedy-drama, written and directed by Mitchell Lichtenstein (Teeth (2007)). I had enjoyed the subversive black humour of Teeth that I was really looking forward to seeing what direction he had taken with his next project.

Tears has less of a coherent narrative as it tries to explore the relationship between the sisters and their obliviously embarrassing father, and for the film to succeed you have to believe in the central trios interrelationships - I’m not sure that I did.

Parker Posey plays the sister who has been shielded from the family’s skeletons, not that it appears to have done her any favours as she has a fragile state of mind. The stronger of the sisters, Laura, has stayed at home, in relative poverty and growing resentment towards her younger sister. The final ingredient thrown into the mix is Ellen Barkin who plays the father's personal nurse, who appears to spend most of her time drunk.

The next hour and a half has some instances which are amusing, some even touching, but what the film is missing is a central idea which drives the plot. There is some idea of trying to find their father's buried treasure and/or define/redefine their own relationship, but this doesn’t really go anywhere. Mostly you spend your time as a voyeur into the family and their shenanigans.

The acting is pretty good, especially Torn, though, given what has happened in his personal life, his portrayal is possibly a little too close to reality.

The disc supplied was a time encoded file, so it is difficult to comment on what the final disc sill be like. The review disc was clear enough with good tones, but no options for language, subtitles or extras.

So, if you like the actors and buy the premise, then you might enjoy the film, however for the average viewer its distinct lack of focus is likely to lose more audience members than gain them.


Charles Packer

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