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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 little early…lame and unfinished
Whats disturbing is someone trying to make money off of this. The facts aren’t even out yet 3 years later and someone already made a movie? Thats ridiculous. We are finding more and more that this was a media story and an NCAA debacle and really Penn State was just forced into punishing themselves for something that may not have even happened. Unless they straight up admit that the majority of the “facts” that were given to the public surrounding this were literally made up by the media and it discusses the fact that we know the NCAA bluffed PSU because they didn’t know what they were really doing and they did a shady investigation that was set out to find one thing instead of actually finding the truth then this movie is a joke. They did this WAY too early and I bet for sure they don’t even have the new facts about the NCAA in there and all the proof that Joe Paterno did a great job of handling this. Nobody should watch this garbage, if you are interested just go read about the new facts in the case. That’ll really scare you about what you read in the media and how much of it is true
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.
Freshness32, did you even watch it? Watch it 1st & then let's discuss what this film is about. I wasn't interested in seeing it myself, but after a recommendation, did watch it. An incredible doc. It's much less about the case itself, but about the community's, society's and people close to the events reaction to what was happening.