Doc Rec: The Great Happiness Space

Something I want to do on this space is post recommendations I have for any form of narrative that I've enjoyed. Today I want to recommend one of my favorite documentary films of all time, The Great Happiness Space: Tale of an Osaka Love Thief.


The Great Happiness Space follows the story of Cafe Rakkyo, a host club, and its charismatic owner, employees, and patrons. In Japan, host clubs are bars where women go to enjoy the company of handsome and charming men employed there. If you want to get crude, these "hosts" are for all intents and purposes emotional prostitutes (who sometimes sleep with their clients as well). But this film isn't merely a seedy tale of unusual sex work. Instead the film is about a very complicated service industry with high personal and financial stakes and the caring yet alarmingly cunning businessmen who have learned to capitalize on being desirable boyfriends. They call it The Great Happiness Space because these bars truly sell happiness, often to people who cannot find it elsewhere. I can't say more without giving away too many details but I will say the narrative turns this film takes make it more compelling than anything that someone could have conjured up with their imaginations. Take a leap of faith and watch this movie (available on Netflix).