AFI Fest 2014: ‘Happy Valley’ is a riveting examination of hero worship and institutional scapegoating
Happy Valley is the very definition of a documentary whose parts are greater than their sum. At every turn, the viewer can sense a much greater film that could have been, tantalizing possibility lurking in the margins. The Penn State sex abuse scandal and its aftermath suggest so many things (not many of them terribly flattering) about American culture, specifically its football and college culture. But a lot of these themes are more gleaned by the viewer from what they see in the film than they are actively explored by the film proper.