- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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- Elizabeth Hilprecht
Although I hadn't seen the movie, I knew the song and used to play it on the piano during the 70's. The picture on the sheet music of an anniversary cake in the garbage can, along with the lyrics and the "happy ending" title made me suppose a story where a younger feuding couple kissed and made up at the end, with the husband singing that song to the wife while they had a candlelit champagne toast even though the cake was in the garbage. Now I've seen what the movie is really about, and I do recall a lot of midlife crises going on around the time the movie came out and that people were discovering that marriages were too often not about "happy endings". The writing, the cast, and the music is all superior, but I gave the movie four stars instead of five because much of the time the movie lighting is very dim, making it hard to watch.
Actualy felt the film was about being stuck in an idea, the idea of a stepfordwife reality. The woman with the implant in the gym was such an odd moment, particularly when implants are so normalized now. The power of fitting in and staying in lock-step is quite powerful. I felt this film was much more a story about the feminine mystique. Granted the story doesn't explore the 'reality' of the maid so it stays within the rhelms of upper waspy class but it still is a story where the heroine succeeds because she begins to listen to her own almost dormant voice. All of the actors were extremely good, just love Jean Simmons and Shirley Jones.
Thank you TCM for showing this film, a new one for me. This film could be part of a March lineup (women's history month) of films addressing American feminism in the 60s through the 90s--show this with the Stepford Wives, for example, and it looks like another horror film (and the beauty spa stuff echoed The Women, from a generation earlier). Yes, it's "groovy" music and dated in its style, but the feelings are communicated beautifully and tragically. This film shows how men, as well as women, were trapped and damaged by gender codes and patriarchal power structures. Relevant today, sadly, as it was more than 30 years ago.
I just finished watching this unusual film. I have always thought Jean Simmons was very under-rated; she was wonderful in this role. Of course the sound track is one of the best-and I'm glad Striesand didn't sing in the background. Shirley Jones was so good-I'd forgotten she was in this gem. Very happy TCM showed it.
An unusual film for the time
- Doug Daniel
Do watch Jean Simmons give a startling performance in this highly personal film. Her husband, writer-director Richard Brooks, was using the movie as a way of helping his wife deal with problems in her life, including their marriage. The making of "The Happy Ending" is part of my book on Brooks, "Tough as Nails." In talking to Jean Simmons a few years ago, I was surprised to learn that she felt that elements of the movie hit a little too close to home. Trivia: Brooks passed up on having Streisand sing "What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life" for the film. The song, later Oscar-nominated, plays in a jukebox in a bar. Brooks felt that having Streisand's voice would pull attention away from the point of the scene. Also, Brooks didn't tell John Forsythe about the question Simmons would pose at the film's end, making his uncertainty as to how to answer quite real.
the happy ending
Short & sweet, this movie is as relevant today as it was in 1969. The music is spellbinding.. I even have the album! I fell in love with Jean with this movie. I wonder if it reflected her life to a certain extent since her then husband Richard Brooks directed her in this movie. (?). Hopefully, Movies Unlimited will realize this and make it available in DVD format. PS Robert Osborne, I love you..the best host who tells it like it is without being "gossipy" (if there is such a word!). Thank you!
You don't have to be a film critic or buff to see this film acts as a transition film from older, conservative ideas to what ended up being the woman's movement treatment of what was a 'midlife crisis' for Jean Simmons charactor. The film shows us change, and a great deal of it. Simmons leaves her husband, in search of herself. Running from appears to be a history of mental issues and restraining drugs, she attempts to find some basic reality in life, different from her current fare. I think the key is when Bobby Darin's charactor, or the 'pho giggalo' meets Simmons. They start with intent but never go ahead with things. Just that shows, just maybe, there is more to finding reality in life than sex. Maybe it shows us that life is not something simple. It's not always following the nice and easy path. But, it could be that. Therein lies the challenge. Where do I fit in? Great mind teaser and, as noted in other reviews, a film that begins you take away from older values to something new. Even if John Forysthe proved he had come a long way with the ladies since 'Bachelor Father'.
Timely Feminist Drama
- Beth McAvoy
Happy Ending is an overlooked gem of a drama about the life of a middle class housewife. She has a handsome, successful husband, a lovely home, but she feels empty and unfulfilled. She drinks to erase the numbness. She and her husband are confused as to why she is discontented. He is a decent provider. She spend time with friends, including a delightful Shirley Jones, who is in the midst of an affair with a married man. She goes off on a vacation excursion with Jones and meets a seemingly charming Italian photographer, played expertly by singer Bobby Darin. She learns there is always more than meets the eye with people. This drama is a rare portrait of middle class life from a woman's perspective.
An old favorite
This movie was on TV when I was a child, and it made a big impression on me. Always enjoy seeing Simmons, but particularly memorable is Bobby Darin, "Robert Darin," as a gigilo. I only wish he had sung on the soundtrack.
The Happy Ending (1969)
- James Higgins
A very bleak drama, made very memorable by a poignant performance from Jean Simmons. She plays an unhappy homemaker who uses alcohol and pills to escape her empty life. Well written, but the characters are too often cold and unfeeling.
Jean Simmons is memorable
Jean Simmons was nominated for an oscar only twice in her career - as Ophelia in Laurence Olivier's 1948 "Hamlet," and then in this 1969 film, written and directed by her husband Richard Brooks. I admit it's not a great movie, and its "women have to make better choices for themselves" theme felt dated and heavy handed even at the time. Yet I find Ms. Simmons mesmerizing anyway. It's maybe a guilty pleasure, but in the depths of her character's depression and alcoholism, she goes to a bar in the afternoon, in a glamorous but sad hat, and sits sipping her drink while the song "What are you doing the rest of your life" is sung in the background. (It was written for the film; and like Ms. Simmons, it received an oscar nomination.) She also has a great moment late in the film when she finally lets hubbie John Forsythe feel the force of her anger, which is BIG. To me she always carries intelligence and rue with her. The supporting cast is lively, especially Shirley Jones. Anyway, worth seeing for beautiful Jean.