„The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki” tells a truthful love story from the summer of 1962, when the modest Finnish boxer Olli Mäki prepares for a match against the current lightweight boxing world champion. But soon he loses interest in training as he sets his sights on a girl named Raija.
It must be one of the most romantic films about boxing that has been ever made, as love and other beautiful thoughts are more important here than boxing and winning. The whole film conveys the feeling of being in love and happy.
The most plausible scenes in the films were those, where Olli and Raija are in each other’s company – riding bikes in the woods or skipping stones by the sea. They had a good time together. It looks like the actors were really in love with each other, because it is impossible to act that well.
It is great to be engrossed in the era, where the story takes place. The film is black-and-white and slow – as if it had been made in the 1960s. A lot is contributed to by the training tools that are shown in the film – workout clothes, boxing gloves, headgear – it is all so absurdly old-fashioned.
I must confess that the film is a bit boring to watch in a cinema, as I cannot imagine that boxers are always so light-mindedly smiling and cheerful… But when I thought back on it the next day, I got that warm fuzzy feeling inside and a mellow smile on my face, which the film carries in it.
If I were to bring a parallel with an Estonian film, then the first that comes to mind is our own
„Kevade” – just like Toots keeps Arno away from Teele, Olli’s comfortable existence is interrupted by his active manager, who reminds him of his duties.
In order to make a good film about so-called ordinary and boring people, the director had to do what Olli did: avoid all sorts of fake aspirations and fall in love with filmmaking again. Hopefully, he succeeds at that with his next films as well.