The Happy Poet (2010)
85 minutes, color
The Happy Poet is an all-organic, mostly vegetarian comedy about Bill, a struggling poet who pours his heart, soul, and last few dollars into starting a healthy food stand, surprising friends and customers with his dry wit and offbeat passion. Motivated by help from a rag-tag group of supporters and a budding romance with a poetry-loving customer, Bill strives to make a difference in the world, until surprising complications jeopardize his new friendships and threaten Bill’s dreams for a hot dog-free future.
The Happy Poet cleverly re-works the classic American film story of the underdog struggling against the system, adding a dose of deadpan humor and a fresh take on a young generation’s interest in the intersection of a social conscience and the food we eat.
"My favorite movie so far at this year's SXSW is a little comedy, at once wistful and wonderfully dry-witted, called The Happy Poet. … damned if my heart didn't swell during the film's great climax to say nothing of the last shot that left me touched to the point of tears. Austin filmmaker Paul Gordon, who wrote, directed, edited and starred in the movie ought to be mighty pleased with himself."
- Entertainment Weekly
"A sweet, stealthy film about creating meaning in your life (and your work) in a relentlessly mercenary world. Off-handed and yet quite artfully observed, The Happy Poet's winsome deadpan offsets its skewering of class and sustainability issues, right through to a tricky ending that, like Bill himself, may not be what it seems."
- The Village Voice
"At some point while watching The Happy Poet, you’re going to realize that you have a silly grin on your face, and that’s it’s been there since the film began. …Cut so brilliantly for laughs that one can imagine Woody Allen and Albert Brooks feeling envious."
- LA Weekly
"This deadpan no-budget comedy, about a glumly idealistic man who decides to start a health-food stand and the complications that result, is a genuine under-the-radar gem—the kind of quietly charming, profound film that creeps up on you. It's also, as luck would have it, perfectly acted."
- New York Magazine
"The poet wants to be happy but doesn't really know how to go about it. It's a pretty good joke, and Mr. Gordon tells it with enough discipline and invention to make a significant portion of the film funny in interesting, subversive ways. A promising debut."
- The New York Times
"The Happy Poet, a deadpan charmer directed by Austin filmmaker Paul Gordon, moves along at the brisk pace of a light romantic comedy. ...Everything about The Happy Poet is cheerily conventional, save for Gordon's hilariously monotonous delivery, an ironic performance that incessantly contradicts the movie's title."
"…Even better, the film's dry sense of humor belies sincerity, rather than the kind of ironic detachment that seems to pop up frequently in independent films."
SXSW 2010 (World Premiere)
67th Venice International - Venice Days
Traverse City - Jury Prize for Emerging Talent
Oldenburg International- Audience Award
Tokyo International Film Festival
Cambridge - UK
Calgary International Film Festival
Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival
American Film Festival (Poland)
Gijón International - Audience Award
Cucalorus Film Festival
Philadelphia International - American Independents Award
Ojai Film Festival
Salt Lake City
Napa Valley Film Festival
San Francisco Indie
Florida Film Festival - Grand Jury Prize Best Narrative Feature
BAFICI - Buenos Aires