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TIFF 2016 Review: The Happiest Day in the Life with Olli Mäki

The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki is not only one of the longest titles at the Festival, but has something really important going on. It’s the winner of the Un Certain Regard prize at Cannes, but deserves to be seen with fresh eyes, not as an award winner but as an examination of what is important at the end of a very long day.

Ostensibly a film about the 1960’s, it’s really a timeless story about what happens when a boxer faces the biggest fight of his life but just wants to go home and rediscover his priorities. It’s a charming story, and it’s tough to imagine the film working without the contributions from lead actors Jarkko Lahti and Oona Airola.

The film by Juho Kuosmanen feels like a throwback, not because of the black and white camerawork and the fact that it’s set in the past. It’s a throwback because there aren’t stories like this one getting made and not just in America, but anywhere. It must take a Finn.

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