Based on the novel (same title), this Netflix movie is charming, but more so in a cute kind of almost PG way.

Happiness for Beginners (2023) Netflix Movie Review

Finding her rhythm again is an important feat for Helen Carpenter (Ellie Kemper). She wants to rediscover life after a miscarriage and spending too many years in a marriage and relationship that wasn’t right. Now, officially divorced, Helen is starting this journey by going on a hiking trip. The trip, she hopes, challenges her and teaches her how to heal… after all, her divorce is clinging to her. Planning to do this by herself, Helen is more than a little miffed to find the best friend of her annoying younger brother also on the trip.

Jake (Luke Grimes) is one of those do-gooder guys that Helen just doesn’t like. But does she really know him? And what will this trip have in store to teach the both of them?

💛‘HAPPINESS FOR BEGINNERS’ NETFLIX REVIEW: THE ADAPTATION THAT’S CUTE💛 Review of the #KatherineCenter adaptation from #Netflix. #Movies #Movie #MovieReview #MovieReviews #Reviews #Adaptation #Comedy #HappinessforBeginners Click To Tweet

Katherine Center is the author of this book which is inspiration for this film. Though there are several differences, I think the film captures the essence of the novel better than most. This script backs off the deeper emotional scars for Helen; ages everyone up, and lessens the gap; eliminates the bedroom conversation scenes (wise in my opinion); plus, it does away with one of the cute elements of the ending. Despite this, the characters are all mostly intact and fun to hang out with for close to two hours.

There are stacked shots of beautiful scenery as those characters traverse through the countryside of the East Coast. Plus, making it prettier is the colors, which are all autumn and beautiful and even, dare the non-nature-loving-girl-say, relaxing. This type of thing doesn’t always seem “important,” but it does have a gorgeous impact. How they use the camera to showcase this is well done, though the rest of the production in that area is a little strange. It’s almost like this continuous loop in some scenes that moves from one face to the next.

The cast is all really good though I don’t think Ellie is exactly how I’d imagine Helen. Still, the Unbreakable Kimmy Schimdt actress is still good. Paired with the Yellowstone actor Luke Grimes and a fun supporting cast, including Blythe Danner, the film allows us to have fun with these characters. I like the interaction between these two though I wouldn’t say it’s a strong romance connection. Rather, it’s more about learning about each other and realizing maybe there is a friend to be had.

If you like charming movies that have some romance, and are also cute in a sweet way, Happiness for Beginners is that kind of movie.

Exclusively stream Happiness for Beginners on Netflix


💛‘HAPPINESS FOR BEGINNERS’ NETFLIX REVIEW: THE ADAPTATION THAT’S CUTE💛 Review of the Katherine Center adaptation from Netflix. © Rissi JC

Content: There is some profanity (nothing terrible) and if it bothers you, there are a few minor sexual innuendoes. There is also (again if it bothers you) a character who likes the same sex.  

Photos: Netflix

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.

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