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Happy Tears (2009) Online

Happy Tears (2009) Online
Original Title :
Happy Tears
Genre :
Movie / Comedy / Drama
Year :
Directror :
Mitchell Lichtenstein
Cast :
Parker Posey,Demi Moore,Rip Torn
Writer :
Mitchell Lichtenstein
Type :
Time :
1h 32min
Rating :

Two sisters return home to deal with their ailing father, only to face some surprising situations.

Happy Tears (2009) Online

Jayne and Laura are about to take on the first man they just might not be able to handle: their seventy-something-year-old father Joe. Dutiful daughters returning to the house they grew up in, Jayne and Laura are forced to take a closer look at their own not-so-perfect lives while dodging childhood memories. Laura suspects that Joe needs full-time care, but Jayne hopes that their father's condition isn't that serious. Joe is still singing and playing his old guitar, and the lively widower even has a new "ladyfriend," shameless and sassy Shelly. But as the visible moments of their father's impending senility increase, so do the dysfunctional family dynamics. Tensions flare as the close sisters must also juggle their own very different lives - Laura's busy schedule as an environmentalist and mother of two small children, and Jayne, desperate to finally have a baby with her workaholic art-dealing husband Jackson. Their adventures back home are not without magic, mischief and mayhem, and ...
Cast overview, first billed only:
Parker Posey Parker Posey - Jayne
Demi Moore Demi Moore - Laura
Peter Patrikios Peter Patrikios - Driver (as Pete Patrikios)
T. Ryder Smith T. Ryder Smith - Shoe Salesman
Christian Camargo Christian Camargo - Jackson
Victor Slezak Victor Slezak - Eli Bell
Melissa Ticen Melissa Ticen - Stewardess
Rip Torn Rip Torn - Joe
Ellen Barkin Ellen Barkin - Shelly
Julianna Conforti Julianna Conforti - Young Jayne
Jacquelyn Conforti Jacquelyn Conforti - Young Jayne
Alyssa Klein Alyssa Klein - Young Laura
David L. King David L. King - Dr. Sims (as David King)
Aldous Davidson Aldous Davidson - Waiter
Richard Barlow Richard Barlow - Mitch (as Rich Barlow)

User reviews



Friday night, we here at the MockingMovies household were in a movie-less funk with nothing to watch. Thank God, for Comcast giving us the option to spend too much money and watch movies that are still playing in theaters. The preview for "Happy Tears' presented what appeared to be a run of the mill dysfunctional family "dramedy" starring Rip Torn, Demi Moore, Parker Posey(this sold me on the movie) and Ellen Barkin. I have been a consummate fan of Parker Posey through her reign as the queen of the indies during the 90's and in her more conventional fare ("You've Got Mail" and "Scream 3"), and I had a feeling that she would raise this movie above the ordinary. I was not disappointed. There is so much going on here that is not hinted at in the trailer. Moore and Posey are sisters who have to return home to take care of their father ( Rip Torn) who is beginning to suffer from dementia. The family dynamic is quickly set up with Moore being the older, responsible sister who takes care of and shelters her younger, quirky, needy sister. Rip Torn walks the fine line between being the dark comedy offered by his dementia and the more weighty prospect of becoming a burden on his daughters. All of this is the run of the mill part I referred to before. The unexpected comes in the form of trippy fantasy sequences Posey's characters lapses into when confronted with anything remotely challenging and the fantastic Ellen Barkin. Barkin is a drugged up homeless woman and possible prostitute who having hit rock bottom appears to have moved into Rip Torn's house under the guise of being his nurse. The running joke is that spends the entire movie with a stethoscope around her neck.

There is much to enjoy here and I would highly recommend "Happy Tears" .


Saw this at Cinema Sundays at the Charles here in Baltimore.

The audience liked it a lot, from their reactions during the film and also at the Q&A. Parker Posey and Demi Moore play two sisters who are faced with taking care of their father in the house where they grew up. Their father, played by Rip Torn, is becoming less and less compos mentis. Not forgetting the wonderful Ellen Barkin, who brings humanity to the role of Shelley, a woman who has reached bottom.

The movie has some pretty trippy sections, a fair amount of things that make you not so sure what's supposed to be happening in the movie's reality, and what's just happening in the head of one of the characters.

It's primarily a good-natured comedy about people and how they get along. It's very funny, with some subtle and unexpected laughs. I can't wait for this to be shown in a local theater so I can see it again.


"Happy Tears" is sort of odd: It draws you in, and you comfortably watch the whole thing. Then, after it ends, you realize it suffers from "chick flick" syndrome, almost as bad as the worst of the genre.

It really has poor story structure. It seems to be moving along, but really it's just floating along on a stream of trenchant dialog and beautiful graphics and editing, and some great acting. But it ends on a happy-go-lucky, that seems rather undeserved and subsequently trite. All kinds of dramatic elements get dropped, and others enter without decent leading development.

In short, if you like narrative integrity, skip it.


"Happy Tears" is an independent, fairly simple, dysfunctional family drama. Two grown sisters move back home to take care of their ailing father. The sisters of course have their own problems on top of dealing with their father who is in denial of his situation and very much trying to live as the patriarch of dysfunctionality.

Many movies have told this type of story, and these filmmakers attempted to make their mark and do something better or at least different. But I was turned off by it. They were going for a dream-like feel with dream-like colours and imagery and of course actual dreams mixed in. I found it all very weird and made it hard for me to get into the film.

The title relates to the laughs and tears that occur. The problem is there are no laughs, and although the characters were well written I wasn't drawn into them so I didn't feel what they were feeling - just uncomfortable.

I appreciated the actors they cast, and the effort that they made to make this film new and good, but I have to recommend "The Savages" (2007) over this.


Gee, Ellen Barkin looks like hell (it's all makeup; she's not THAT old), Patti D'Arbanville (about whom Cat Stevens wrote his song) -- yes, folks, we all do grow old. I don't know why people gave this such a low rating, but, without having read any of the reviews, I am here to say that while the plot is kind of ridiculous, the portrayal of old age is not. Dementia is miserable for the people who have to deal with those who are undergoing it. And this film does depict it in a Hollywood way. It's worse in real life, for those who don't have money to afford -- any of it.

Okay, I just lost my mouse, so I am going to submit this without further comment. Except to say I am surprised that this film was not more popular -- oh, and OF COURSE to make the connection (I never had a doubt) between Roy Lichtenstein and the director. No one else would be able to use that "Happy Tears" logo, and the plot certainly made sense to a person who understood the difficulty of being the child -- wunderkind -- of a Very Famous Artist.

Dementia is always depressing, so I think Lichtenstein did a good job. If I still had my mouse, I'd look up how Roy died, see if he went the way his son depicts...


Happy Tears is definitely worth seeing. I had some reservations about it but I will start with the positives. The film begins with the Posey Parker character, Jayne, an icy rich woman commanding her way in Manhattan. But just as we are getting used to this, the scene switches to Pittsburgh where she is visiting her lowbrow family, a stark contrast. Before we know it we are involved with her dastardly but winning Father, Jayne's sister, Laura, who is caring for him and his sleep-in girl friend who is masquerading as a nurse. The purpose of the visit is to make arrangements for him. He is incontinent. The sisters become reacquainted around the task of cleaning feces off his body.

The most striking performance is Ellen Barkin's character Shelley, the old man's "nurse". Wearing a stethoscope around her neck does nothing to disguise the fact she is an aging crack whore who is living symbiotically with the old man. Everything about this characterization is larger than life. While Jayne takes exception to her, she isn't very designing. In fact she is too innocent to be evil in any way. When in the end there is largess, the sisters plant her rightful share in a coat which she slips in to snatch. Shelley and the old man lend the film a lot of humor and humanity.

What I found disturbing was the character of Jayne, as it is represented. It is not a question of acting but writing. While she seems to approach everything from a conservative angle, she herself is nothing like conservative. In fact, during her visit she has a sexual episode on LSD with a teenage boy. It seems really quite a stretch that any woman in her 30's would go this way, especially with the teen answering to the question what the drug she is asked to swallow is: "Does it matter?" Questions like that would flow naturally from the mouth of a serial killer. This leads to pregnancy, while her husband has expressed a wish not to have children. Although her wealthy husband has been peripheral to the film to the point of being non-existent, still we know enough not to be surprised when his resistance to children turns to "Happy Tears," a phrase which he actually uses.

But none of this adds up. We are disposed to like Jayne and yet for no reason at all she makes him the unwitting father of another man's child. It would make more sense in terms of motivation if their marriage had been sexless. But then of course he would know he is not the father. I had the disturbing thought, could he be denying what he knew? But this is not in the film. What is there is simply an inconsistency created by the slapdash addition of disparate elements into the brew. Chalk it up to out of control woman.

Buried treasure incidentally is discovered in the backyard in a late-night bulldozer session which we are supposed to believe would be plausible in Pittsburgh (--or, for that matter, in California.) I suppose this is an attempt to rub shoulders with some of the glory of King of California (an enormously better film). While on the subject of unreality, this is yet another film where joints are always accepted and the micro-mini skirt is still the norm. In short, it may be an Indie, but it never left Hollywoodland.


A satisfactory comedy drama from the director who brought us the classic horror coming-of-age satire 'Teeth' (2007). The Coens brothers and Alexander Payne come to mind several times, but Lichtenstein does not prove to be as spot on as his colleagues - though he certainly was in 'Teeth'. Awkward situations and humour are well-represented, and several strange, though not always great (fantasy and or dream) sequences pop up here, but the story - even if it isn't all too complicated - meanders too much, only to 'culminate' in an overly sentimental conclusion of events.

It's probably partly biographic for Lichtenstein (yes, he is the son of Roy Lichtenstein), but in the end, it doesn't need to result in this sort of indulgence. But I already mentioned before that 'Happy tears' is a satisfactory experience, and it still is that, even more so because of the fine acting jobs by the likes of Parker Posey, Rip Torn, Demi Moore and Ellen Barkin.

A small 7 out of 10.


The acting talent in this movie is beyond doubt. Rip Torn, Demi Moore, Parker Posey, Ellen Barkin...excellent excellent portrayals of their respective characters as, respectively, the over-sexed but dying father, the concerned, loving, but also realistic daughter, the younger, concerned, rich, but addicted daughter, and the older slut posing as a 'nurse' in exchange for free bed and board and a bit of money.

There were events in the story I didn't understand. I will not list them here for fear of writing spoilers, but they did seem incoherent. I tried to figure out why this or that point was included, such as - one exception I'll make - why the younger accepted to get high with the kid and then had sex with him, which made her pregnant, as far as I understood, and then in the end, was obviously passing off the pregnancy as coming from her husband. He, admittedly, didn't want to have kids because of his neurosis. She wanted to get pregnant. So what did she do? Use the kid as a surrogate father so the child would be 'normal'? For an already dysfunctional family beset with problems, wasn't this adding insult to injury? Well, you'll have to decide. but both sisters, at least, seemed to take the situation much as you'd be taking your regular cup of coffee. That looked weird to me, if my understanding is correct.

Anyway, I decided to forget the parts I didn't like/understand and concentrate on the powerful appreciation and portrayal of real life people, and in that sense, the movie played out grandly. Worth watching, and as usual, the highlights of Torn's hilarious antics that elicit snickers and giggles are always good.

For what it's worth, I think, though, he was much funnier in 'The Golden Boys'.
black coffe

black coffe

Okay, the plot of the Michael Douglas vehicle (he plays the title character) isn't QUITE identical to that of HAPPY TEARS. The former "crazy" dad with a secret of hidden treasure has just ONE daughter, while Rip Torn in HAPPY TEARS has two. But HT is NOT twice the fun!! After all, while Douglas scuba dives, Torn wears diapers (and there is a scene in HT designed to illustrate to young people if they would make good "candy striper" candidates). Another advantage KOC has is that its plot is far simpler than HT's, which in this case is a definite plus. While the main characters of KOC are all likable and funny, most of those in HT are prickly, while more than a few are downright unsympathetic (not to mention unfathomable). Further, maybe in the go-go 1990s jokes about women who buy $4,000 boots on a whim while a sibling needs to practically gnaw on tree bark to survive (with a bunch of children to feed, to boot) would be funny. Today, only the Tea Party anarchists would laugh at that. If you fall into the latter group, you may find HAPPY TEARS to be a hoot. But for the 90% of us who are relegated to just one-third of America's bounty (a percentage that is steadily shrinking at a rate now exceeding the robber baron days which even Republican president Theodore Roosevelt recognized as a crime against humanity when he broke up the trusts), rent KING OF CAL!FORN!A instead!