H for Happy elev



First you are going to talk about what you know about Australia. Then you are going to watch the film and do the following:

  • Describe Candice or Douglas and make a podcast about them.
  • Describe the parent-child relationship and friendships.
  • Work with sound effects and remake a scene from the film, adding your own sound effects and cropping the frame.
  • Analyse the film.
  • Discuss/consider the genre of the film.

Learning goals: By completing the tasks you will become better at ... 

  • Describing characters from the film using adjectives, reading between the lines, looking at peoples’ actions and describing them.  
  • Understanding how a film is made up of smaller parts. 
  • Analysing genre and using film effects to create a certain atmosphere.
Foto: Angel Films

Film og forforståelse

‘H for Happy’ is an Australian film. It is about a girl named Candice, who is given a special task by her teacher at school. She is asked to write a recount of something that has happened in her life and to make it interesting. Every student in the class gets a letter from the alphabet to help them get started with their writing assignment. Candice gets the letter H.

Candice thinks about what to write while at the same time she tries to mend her family after her younger sister died as a baby (cot death). Her mother finds it hard to get over the loss of her baby and therefore spends most of her time in the bedroom. Candice’s dad is not doing too well either and spends a lot of time working on a computer program in the basement of the house. Luckily, Candice has some light in her life. She likes to go to school and she is a very keen student. She also has a rich uncle whose name is Brian. Unfortunately, her dad and uncle are not on speaking terms because of a business deal that went bad.

Foto: Angel Films

One day at school, Candice gets a new classmate. His name is Douglas. He once fell down a tree and hit his head, and he now believes that he comes from another dimension and that he needs to return there. In many ways, the two kids are very much alike. They are both trying to find their way back to something that once was.

Candice decides to save both her family and Douglas from killing himself in his attempt to find his way back to the other dimension. She decides her writing assignment will be about finding happiness.

Consider the following questions:

  • What do you know about Australia?
    • Do you know any famous Australians?
    • Do you know any famous Danes who are associated with Australia?
  • How can you tell the film is from Australia?
  • What is a "recount"?
  • What does "cot death" mean?



In groups of two

  • Make a podcast and/or a television interview about the film. Include the following:
    • What is the film about?
    • Who is the main character and what is she like?
    • Talk about the characters’ problems or challenges. 
    • Include a jingle at the beginning of the podcast / interview and at the end.
Foto: Angel Films



In groups of two

  • How would you describe the parents’ relationship?
  • Why is the mother always in the bedroom and the father always working?
  • Describe the relationship between Candice and her parents.
  • Describe the situation between Candice and her uncle.
  • What makes this situation change? 
Foto: Angel Films


In groups of two

  • How would you describe the girl’s relationship with her classmates and why do you think the relationship is the way it is?  
  • What kind of relationship does Candice have with the new boy in class?
  • Describe the two people (the girl and the boy) using copy sheet 3 


Film effects: Sound effects 

Watch clip 1-3.

Filmleksikon: In groups of two, look up and read the following about sound effects:

Answer the following questions in your group:

  • What kinds of sounds are used in the scene where the class is taught by the substitute teacher? See the following clip: 

  • Did you notice any other occasions when sound effects were used (in which scenes)? 
  • What do the different kinds of sounds add to the film?
  • Camera angles and different types of shots


In groups of two


  • Remake the scene from the film where the substitute teacher takes over the lesson.
  • Add as many sounds effects as possible to make the scene either scary or happy.
  • Think about how you crop your shots to create the perfect scene.
  • Show your scene to the rest of the class.
  • Talk about whether the sound effects and cropping choices had the effect intended – why/why not?
  • You can read the monologue here:

    "My name is Mrs XXX and I’m the relief teacher. This does not mean that I have an invisible target between my eyes or that you should confuse me with a human being. Mrs. Banfort is unfortunately ill and will be away for a few days. In the meantime, I am in charge. You are to work on your open day presentations and you will work in silence! RIGHT!"

DRAMATURGY: The narrative model 

Filmleksikon: In groups of two, look up and read about the narrative model or in Danish "berettermodellen". When you analyse a film, you can use the narrative model to create an overview of what happens. Read about this model and try to write about what happens in the different stages of the film:

  • What happens in the beginning of the film that makes us understand what the film is about?
  • What sets Candice off on her quest to try to make her family happy again?
  • How many things does she try to change and do you recall her actions?
  • Things have to go bad before they can go well – at what point does it seem like her mission is hopeless?
  • What makes the film end in a good way and why? 
Foto: Angel Films

GENRE: A mix of genres 

Filmleksikon: In groups of two, look up and read about genre. When watching a film, we want to define what kind of film it is. It might be a love story, a fairy tale, a crime story, a comedy or a thriller. ‘H for Happy’ is difficult to define as just one genre.

  • Did you notice elements of different genres in the film? 
    • What signs of the fantasy genre did you notice? 
    • What signs of the drama genre did you notice?