I’m not a fan of boxing, and by extension, most films about boxing tend to leave me cold. However, it’s a sport which has produced some notable movies over the decades. Raging Bull is the obvious highlight, but the Rocky series demonstrates just how popular a sub-genre it can be. There’s been a recent resurgence, with Bleed for This and Creed both performing well at the Box Office. The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki is more of a character study and love story than a boxing film, and is all the better for it.
Olli (Jarkko Lahti) has built a reputation as a talented amateur boxer and his entrance into the professional sphere has so far been fruitful. An exceedingly modest man, Olli finds his small town existence transformed when he’s given a shot at the world title. Propelled into the national spotlight, he’s bewildered and disconcerted by all the attention. His manager (Eero Milonoff) is determined to capitalise on the publicity but Olli’s distracted by his burgeoning romance with Raija (Oona Airola).
The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki is absolutely lovely. Director Juho Kuosmanen uses monochrome beautifully to depict the era, whilst Milonoff plays it perfectly as an increasingly frustrated figure. There’s a wonderfully subtle chemistry between Lahti and Airola who are the epitome of a couple in love. The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki is a film which will leave you smiling. It’s an absolute delight.
The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki is out in cinemas from Friday.