• Released
  • January 25, 2013
  • (NY)
  • NR , 1 hr 30 min
  • Documentary
  • 6 Fan Ratings
88

Chicago Sun-Times

Like "Grizzly Man," Herzog's latest documentary, Happy People: A Year in the Taiga is mostly built around another filmmaker's priceless footage.
Full Review
80

NPR

By Scott Tobias
At bottom, though, Happy People celebrates the hard-won freedoms that living in the Taiga offers those who are willing to confront its challenges. There are few places on the planet where the strictures of society don't apply, and the trade-off for fending off bears and minus-50-degree weather is the opportunity to lead a pure, solitary life.
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80

Arizona Republic

Herzog’s longing for the ideological purity in which these lives are lived, free of paperwork and bureaucracy, taxes and technology, drives the film, which lacks an overall story arc. And that longing makes the title’s veracity a little suspect.
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75

New York Post

By Farran Smith Nehme
The film is both elegiac and amazingly retro, like the nature specials that baby boomers were weaned on - although it's not for animal lovers, unless you have a specific grudge against sables. "Happy People" is the title, but it's virtually all men.
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75

Boston Globe

By Mark Feeney
“Happy” isn’t meant ironically. Herzog, who narrates, clearly loves, and envies, the trappers’ elemental existence and connection to nature.
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70

The Hollywood Reporter

By Frank Scheck
While the original version's four hours might have made for wearisome viewing for Western audiences, Herzog's 94-minute cut feels just right, fully immersing us in this rarified world without lapsing into tedium.
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67

Austin Chronicle

By Marjorie Baumgarten
It’s not that Happy People is uninteresting – its presentation of previously unknown, distant lives is full of lots of interesting tidbits. It’s just that the one sensibility of which we were previously aware – that of Herzog’s – is indiscernible, as if frozen beneath all this movie’s ice.
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60

Time Out New York

This Siberian jaunt, free from cultural weirdness and ethical barbed wire, is even more of a vacation for Werner Herzog than it first appears: The German codirector never left L.A.
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60

New York Daily News

By Elizabeth Weitzman
There is indeed much beauty on display, from the icy Taiga landscape to the age-old trapping techniques passed on through generations. But this does feel like a lesser Herzog project (he joined on after it was shot). For viewers who don't share his awe, a short film probably would have sufficed.
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25

Slant Magazine

It would be inaccurate to call Happy People: A Year in the Taiga the newest Werner Herzog film.
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74 out of 100
Generally favorable reviews
Metascore® based on all critic reviews. Scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.