It's not a groundbreaking thesis, but we still get a fascinating tour of a town that may never be the same again.
David Lewis, San Francisco Chronicle, 2014-12-04
The film could've benefited from another 15 or 20 minutes of detail and nuance. What's there, though, is strong, thoughtful and disturbing.
Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune, 2014-11-27
Here it is, folks, in your face. Will you look or return to your own private Happy Valley?
David Edelstein, New York Magazine/Vulture, 2014-11-21
[A] thorough, thoughtful and disturbing documentary ...
Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times, 2014-11-20
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.
Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly, 2014-11-20
Less an investigation into or comprehensive summary of the Penn State sex-abuse scandal than a look at the feelings it elicited, Amir Bar-Lev's Happy Valley is more concerned with the phenomenon of team spirit than any single question of fact.
John DeFore, Hollywood Reporter, 2014-11-20
What could "Happy Valley" conclude, ultimately? Any summation might have seemed glib or sanctimonious. We're left instead with troubling questions that might not ever yield satisfying answers.
Matt Zoller Seitz, RogerEbert.com, 2014-11-20
You may cringe. You may sympathize. You may cringe at your own sympathy.
Matthew Lickona, San Diego Reader, 2014-11-20
"Happy Valley" does not try to lead you to any firm conclusion about who or what is to blame for what went wrong in the football-crazed farmland of central Pennsylvania, and viewers with different perspectives will understand it in different ways.
Andrew O'Hehir, Salon.com, 2014-11-19
The troubling tale is well told, unpacked with a clarity and a minimum of ominous mood music.
Joshua Rothkopf, Time Out, 2014-11-18
"Happy Valley," even as it revisits past events, has a chilling timeliness.
A.O. Scott, New York Times, 2014-11-18
"Happy Valley" is a devastating portrait of a community-and, by extension, a nation-put under a spell, even reduced to grateful infantilism, by the game of football.
David Denby, New Yorker, 2014-11-17
Happy Valley ... [lays] bare the broken heart of a community that believed that everything was perfect in a world that never is.
Alan Scherstuhl, Village Voice, 2014-11-11
Amir Bar-Lev offers a typically gripping and thoughtful take on the Penn State scandal.
Justin Chang, Variety, 2014-01-21