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About the Movie
State College, PA has long been known as “Happy Valley” for the idyllic area that’s home to Penn State University and its vaunted NCAA football program. Led for over 40 years by revered head coach Joe Paterno, PSU's football team was lauded both for its successes on the field and in the classroom. But in November 2011 Assistant Coach Jerry Sandusky was shockingly charged with 40 counts of child sex abuse and the resulting firestorm unleashed uncomfortable questions and accusations, and ultimately cost Coach Paterno his job. Filmed over the year following Sandusky’s arrest, Amir Bar-Lev’s HAPPY VALLEY conducts an engrossing investigation into the aftermath of the unspeakable crimes, deconstructing the story we think we know to uncover a much more complicated and tragic tale.
Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews
- Reviews Counted: 35
- Fresh: 31
- Rotten: 4
- Average Rating: 6.8/10
Top Critics' Reviews
Fresh: "Happy Valley," even as it revisits past events, has a chilling timeliness.
Fresh: The documentary offers a compelling overview of the case, but Bar-Lev spends too much time painting Paterno as a victim and scapegoat. That advocacy doesn't sit well.
Fresh: Amir Bar-Lev offers a typically gripping and thoughtful take on the Penn State scandal.
Fresh: [A] thorough, thoughtful and disturbing documentary ...
A must-watch documentary!
I really enjoyed this documentary. It was well-balanced and the interviews with Mrs. Paterno and Jerry's adopted son were riveting. It's a true inside account of what happened at Penn State and what happened in the final days of the scandal that rocked this football town!
Such a great job of telling all sides of this tragic story.
Though-provoking and stirring
Pay no attention to Freshness23’s moronic review. This is a film that doesn’t seek answers, but rather mines the psyches of those who were affected by an unspeakable crime. It’s about human nature and its varying propensities to guard, gloss over, and confront. You shouldn’t watch this to find out the specifics of what happened. You should watch to see how a community of good people were altered forever.