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Movie Review: Happiness for Beginners Catches Three Stars

Movie Streaming on Netflix

Happiness for Beginners is a July, 2023 romantic comedy film that follows Helen Carpenter, a 32-year-old woman who, in an attempt to rebuild her life after a difficult divorce, signs up for an extended hike in the Appalachian Mountains. Along the way, she encounters Jake Taylor, a handsome doctor who is friends with her brother and obviously has a crush on her. The protagonist is annoying and obnoxious. I wanted to smack her at several points during the movie.

The film, directed by Vicky Wight and starring Ellie Kemper and Luke Grimes, is fun and silly with a sweet and predictable ending. It's not a groundbreaking film, but it's a pleasant and easy watch that will leave you feeling good. Kemper and Grimes have good chemistry, and the supporting cast features quirky characters. The guide Beckett was my favorite. The film's setting in the Appalachian Mountains is beautiful, and the cinematography is lovely.

Some things in this movie about a long hike is a bit unrealistic. For one thing nobody ever complained how sore they were at the end of each day. I'm sore after 3 miles! Blisters are mentioned once.

I was a bit disappointed that at the end of a story involving a divorced woman recovering from a breakup, her happy ending is a new boyfriend. Why can't she find her happy ending by herself? I wish this story had been that she just found her own strength to redefine herself, but Hollywood doesn't often write that story. Despite that I enjoyed watching it.

If you're looking for a warm and fuzzy feel-good movie that will make you smile, then Happiness for Beginners is a good choice. It's not the most original film, but it's well-made and entertaining.

I give it 3 out of 5 stars.

(If you want a good hiking movie after a bad break up, Wild with Reese Witherspoon is MUCH better.)


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