Documentary that makes you ‘Happy’

‘Happy’ was directed by Roko Belic and his brother Adrian Belic, who interviewed over 20 people from 14 different countries. Image courtesy of albumart.org.

‘Happy’ was directed by Roko Belic and his brother Adrian Belic, who interviewed over 20 people from 14 different countries. Image courtesy of albumart.org.

One day, as I endlessly scrolled through Netflix trying desperately to find something worthwhile to watch, I stumbled accross ‘Happy.’

‘Happy’ is a documentary about the psychological study of what constitutes happiness and who is really completely content with their lives.

Released in 2011 and written and directed by Roko Belic, ‘Happy’ is 76 minutes of stories and facts about happiness.

This may sound like a typical documentary, which typically are not first on my list of must-see movies, but it is actually incredibly perception-altering.

The documentary features an assortment of people from countries around the world. The first man featured is a rickshaw driver who lives in the city of Calcutta, India. At first glance, one would not guess that this man is actually incredibly happy. He describes how working and coming home to his wife and son every day makes him happier than any other lifestyle could.

In between the in-depth stories like this one, Belic interviews people on the street and asks them to define happiness and what makes them feel their best.

Although a lot of people chose material objects as the definition of happiness, psychologists claim that social status and material possessions only make up about 10 percent of the brain’s actual happiness.

Later on in the documentary they talk about the contrast between happiness levels in Japan and the United States. ‘Happy’ states that people in Japan, as a group, tend to be sad. People there, because of their hard-working lifestyle, struggle with finding happiness.

In another portion, ‘Happy’ takes us to a Dutch co-housing community. Here the people prove to be incredibly happy and independent. The kids all grow up together, learning to cook and be responsible from a young age. The adults depend on each other and regard each other’s children as their own.

Though this might seem like a slightly alternative concept, the members of this co-housing community prove to be some of the happiest.

For me, this documentary was actually life-changing. Not only were some of the stories surprising and interesting, each person interviewed had something different that gave them the greatest amount of joy. Whether it was family, community, tradition, animals or their occupations, not a single one of them found happiness in material things.