(out of 5)
The science of depression is taken very seriously, but who can say that the study of happiness is not just as important? Roko Belic’s enjoyable but slim documentary takes a look at various people around the world and examines their mental well-being: a man driving a rickshaw and living in the slums of Calcutta should be far more miserable than a wealthy member of a first world country, but is that the case? Belic also interviews a former beauty queen whose face was destroyed in a horrific accident but has put together a highly satisfying life for herself, then switches to the widow of a Japanese businessman who literally worked his young self to death in pursuit of economic profit. The film is too short and does not delve deeply enough into its subjects, demanding its findings to be taken at face value without much challenge (for instance, the miserable days of the happiest people would make them more relatable); the inclusion of a motivational speaker is not fully justified, whose methods unwisely go unquestioned by the filmmaker. The examination of this subject is a worthy one, however, and the stories are memorable even when they’re not touching and poignant.
Directed by Roko Belic
Screenplay by Roko Belic
Produced by Roko Belic, Frances Reid, Eiji Han Shimizu
Music by Mark Adler
Film Editing by Roko Belic, Vivien Hillgrove Gilliam
Cast Tags: Andy Wimmer, Anne Bechsgaard, Chikanobu Okamura, Daniel Gilbert,Ed Diener, Gregory Berns, Hiroko Uchino,James Treadwell, Marci Shimoff, Matthieu Ricard, Melissa Moody, Michael Pritchard,Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi,Nic Marks, P. Read Montague, Richard Davidson, Ronaldo Fadul, Roy Blanchard, Sonja Lyubomirsky, The Dalai Lama, Tim Kasser