Whatever Makes You Happy (2011) – By Misty Layne

Exploring the all too common trappings of dissatisfaction and infidelity in the relationships of urban twenty somethings, Whatever Makes You Happy tells the story of Anna and Alex, two fundamentally different people.

Anna is a practical and bookish grad student. She lives a comfortable, yet safe life of study, friends, and her longtime boyfriend Kevin. Alex is a musician, living the carefree urban hipster lifestyle, perfectly happy to coast through life unencumbered.

Everything changes when by chance Anna and Alex meet through friends and connect in a way neither of them expected. This unlikely pair starts a fiercely heated affair, putting both of their worlds in jeopardy. Is what they have together enough to survive the damage it causes?

Whatever Makes You Happy is a relationship drama exploring the ins and outs of boredom in long term relationships, constant fighting in long term relationships and the allure of new when these things become too much. Anna has been with her boyfriend Kevin for 5 years and they’ve reached a stage where they barely even seem to notice one another while going about their daily routines. Meanwhile her brother and his girlfriend constantly fight to the point that I spent the whole film hoping they would break up just to get some relief. People that fight that often over every little thing seriously need some counseling. Enter Alex, an old friend of Anna’s brother’s, who instantaneously is smitten with Anna. Anna, against her better judgment, is equally attracted to him and they start a whirlwind affair.

While there’s nothing new being explored in Whatever Makes You Happy, the film itself is remarkably well done considering how low budget it is. Excellent cinematography, excellent dialogue and more than excellent acting from the leads make the viewer not mind that they’ve seen these scenes played out before. Major props go to Rachel Delante as Anna – not only is she gorgeous but she plays the part of confused, good girl gone rogue to perfection in equal parts melancholy and ecstasy. The other stand out was Jon Miguel as Anna’s boyfriend for one particular scene that was absolutely heartbreaking.

A little too long for what it is but overall a solid piece of cinema exploring the world of relationships, Whatever Makes You Happy is an interesting ride through the lives of 20 somethings searching for who they are. To learn more about the film and how you can view it, check out the website which is full of awesome stills, links and more!