The Happiest Girl In The World (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner28/05/2010

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 100 mins

Engaging, well acted and sharply observed Romanian drama that makes some subtle observations about filmmaking and will strike a chord with anyone who's ever felt hard done by in an argument with their parents.

What's it all about?
Directed by Radu Jude, The Happiest Girl in the World (Cea mai fericita fata din lume, original title fans) stars newcomer Andreea Bosneag as Delia Fratila, a normal 18-year-old who lives with her mother and father in a small Romanian town. When Delia wins a car in a competition organised by a fruit drink company, her parents drive her to Bucharest so that she can film an advertisement as part of a campaign surrounding the prize-win.

However, Delia finds it increasingly difficult to look happy and deliver her line (“My name is Delia Cristina Fratila and I'm the happiest girl in the world”) because between takes she's constantly arguing with her poverty-stricken parents (Vasile Muraru and Violeta Haret) over whether she'll be allowed to keep the car. Meanwhile, the director of the ad (Serban Pavlu) has a series of clashes with the boss of the fruit drink company (Alexandru Georgescu) over the artistic merits of the commercial.

The Good
Andreea Bosneag (who resembles a frumpier version of Janine from EastEnders) delivers a genuinely heartbreaking performance as Delia; her increasingly fraught arguments with first her mother and then her father (who eventually resorts to some pretty hardcore argument tactics) will strike a chord with anyone who's ever felt hard done by in a fight with their parents. Similarly, Vasile Muraru and Violeta Haret are both excellent as Delia's parents.

The Great
Apparently based on a real-life incident, the film also makes several amusing observations about the crushingly tedious day-to-day realities of filmmaking, from the drink not looking orange enough on camera and having to be laced with Coca-Cola to the fact that Delia can't wear her blue patterned jacket because it will ruin the orange grove that will be blue-screened in behind her or, in one excruciating scene, people loudly complaining that Delia's facial hair is ruining the shot, causing the make-up woman to come in and remove it in front of everyone.

Worth seeing?
Sharply observed and superbly acted, The Happiest Girl in the World is an emotionally engaging drama that's well worth seeking out. Recommended.

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Content updated: 23/09/2018 19:18

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