"Having it all" and "not having yourself" – An analysis of the representations of happiness and despair in the movie Happiness

  • Vladimira Ilić Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology Faculty of Philosophy University of Belgrade
happiness, , despair, loneliness, film


 The paper uses the example of the movie Happiness (1998) to analyze cultural ideas on which the (de)construction of a happy American family and happy individuals who "have everything" is based. The paper also analyzes the director's reflexive imagining of every character in the film, whose appearance is based on cultural attitudes and values of individuals, and which arises as an obstacle for establishing intimacy with other people and achieving happiness. Thus, this paper strives to show how culture paradoxically becomes "an obstacle to itself", or rather, how culturally determined attitudes about oneself and others function as an obstacle in achieving culturally determined goals and life purposes. 


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