Positive Psychology Cinemeducation: A review of Happy

Ryan M. Niemiec


The documentary film, Happy, offers educators and practitioners a unique opportunity to provide a novel learning experience for students and clients. The film integrates meaningful stories and expert interviews with quality filmmaking to offer viewers knowledge, entertainment, and engagement. Cinematic elevation, the process by which a viewer observes virtuous behavior, feels physiological sensations of inspiration, and is consequently motivated to do good or to be a better person (e.g., copying the strengths of the film character) is particularly at play in Happy. Where there are gaps in the film’s scope of the field of happiness, wellbeing, and positive psychology, suggestions are made for the viewer to overcome these and maximize the potential to derive benefit from the film.


Happiness, character strengths, elevation, wellbeing, movies/films, cinemeducation, cinematherapy

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