26 September 2023

H Is For Happiness

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Reviewed by Rama Gaind.

Director: John Sheedy, Universal Sony Pictures.

Cast: Daisy Axon, Richard Roxburgh, Emma Booth, Miriam Margolyes.

Happiness at times comes from one’s own actions, but when the need to make a difference comes from one so young it is commendable. Such is the case with Candice Phee.

This Australian film tells the sincerely heart-warming story of 12-year-old Candice, who is determined to spark joy into the lives of her dysfunctional family. It is based on the award-winning book My Life As An Alphabet by Australian author Barry Jonsberg,

The quirky Candice (an extraordinarily vivacious Axon, Judy & Punch) is determined to solve not only her family’s problems, but also those of the world. The film has an appealing feel as it conjures up thoughts about people usually being as happy as they want to be.

Remember the saying about losing 60 seconds of happiness for every minute you are angry? After all, ‘life is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own’.

This Australian film shows life through the expectant eyes of a child. It makes for an interesting scenario when the screenplay by Lisa Hoppe tackles the emotional affairs of an adult. As an example, when it comes to Candice’s mother, Claire (Emma Booth) it’s easy to note she is prone to episodes of melancholia. Her father, Jim (Roxburgh) and uncle, Brian (Joel Jackson), both have deep wounds to heal. They do not get along.

Described as one with “bold vision both filmic and theatrical”, Geelong-born director Sheedy guides your attention to the hub of balanced alignments in the storyline that is told – and remembered – in capacious vivid colours.

It’s appealing and courageously honest!

Ernest Hemingway was so right when he said (The Garden of Eden): “happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.”

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