7.2/10
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The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki (2016)

Hymyilevä mies (original title)
Trailer
1:36 | Trailer
The true story of Olli Mäki, the famous Finnish boxer who had a shot at the 1962 World Featherweight title.

Director:

Juho Kuosmanen
13 wins & 15 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Jarkko Lahti ... Olli Mäki
Oona Airola ... Raija Jänkä
Eero Milonoff ... Elis Ask
Joanna Haartti ... Laila Ask
Esko Barquero Esko Barquero ... Snadi
Elma Milonoff Elma Milonoff ... Evi
Leimu Leisti Leimu Leisti ... Tuula
Hilma Milonoff Hilma Milonoff ... Anneli
Olli Rahkonen Olli Rahkonen ... Nyrkkeilijä
Joonas Saartamo ... Nyrkkeilijä
Henrik Palosaari Henrik Palosaari ... Nyrkkeilijä
Sam-Peter Hirvikangas Sam-Peter Hirvikangas ... Nyrkkeilijä
Antti Naakka Antti Naakka ... Nyrkkeilijä
Niklas Hyvärinen Niklas Hyvärinen ... Nyrkkeilijä
Sauli Helenius Sauli Helenius ... Kulmamies
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Storyline

The true story of Olli Mäki, the famous Finnish boxer who had a shot at the 1962 World Featherweight title. Immensely talented and equally modest, Olli's small town life is transformed when he is swept into national stardom and suddenly regarded as a symbol of his country. There's only one problem: Olli has just fallen in love. Inside of the ring, it's Finland vs. the USA, but outside, boxing and romance become unlikely adversaries vying for Olli's attention. This charming feature debut from Juho Kuosmanen was awarded the Un Certain Regard Prize at the Cannes Film Festival.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

boxer | in love | love | boxing | training | See All (95) »

Taglines:

As fiercely talented as he is modest, Finnish boxer Olli Mäki is swept into national stardom as he trains for a once-in-a-lifetime fight against the World Featherweight Champion. There's only one problem: he's just fallen in love.


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Early test footage shot in color did not capture the time period. By choosing to use 16mm B&W the film-makers were able to give recently renovated locations a vintage look. The lack of color hid modern details. See more »

Goofs

A modern switchboard housing can be briefly seen in the hallway of Elis Ask's apartment. See more »

Soundtracks

Angelo
Written by Miika Snåre
Lyrics by Laura Airola
Arranged by Ykspihlajan Kino-orkesteri
See more »

User Reviews

 
Boxing pic falls short of pre-event hype
12 October 2016 | by rossumrobotSee all my reviews

With a prize at Cannes, favourable reviews and complimentary buzzwords (such as 'delightful' and 'impeccable') all in the mix, you could be forgiven for believing that European cinema had chanced upon the next 'Cinema Paradiso' or 'Amelie' and unearthed the next great take on heartwarming universality. Despite this, my suspicion is that the average cinema goer will ultimately come away from viewing 'The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki' slightly underwhelmed.

It would probably help to accurately define what it is, but here the film isn't shy of a bit of bobbing and weaving. Is it a boxing movie, is it a love story, is it a lovingly recreated slice of history, is it a tale of 'the little man facing mighty odds', is it a wry look at sporting optimism tainted by commercialism and self-interest? In truth, the movie invites each of these elements into the ring, feints and jabs with them, but without ever really hitting any of these targets square on.

The bulk of the story is devoted to Olli's pre-fight schedule, in the days immediately preceding the big match. So there's plenty of sparring, running and sweating on view, but this is also interlaced with the multiple promotional and commercial events Olli must attend in order to satisfy the sponsors and financiers of the bout. Rather than developing Olli's character (which remains fairly fixed as an affable, modest everyman) this routine is most successful at conveying how an event, which is billed as one man's dream, can incrementally drift away and become something he almost no longer recognises as his own. A man who merely wishes to test his talent, suddenly finds himself as a performer in a grand spectacle, carrying the weight of a nation's expectation on his shoulders. It's not 'one giant leap' to imagine a biopic of astronaut Neil Armstrong treading a similar path.

If I haven't mentioned the love story until this juncture, it's probably because, despite it producing some of the film's best moments, its presence feels a little token. Narratively, it teases us with the possibility that Raija is a distraction for Olli, dislodging his focus from 'his dream' or instead that she is actually the only genuine thing he has left to hold on to; especially given the fickle nature of the 'media circus' surrounding him. Whether it's preparing for sleep in a children's bunk bed, a stolen kiss at a local wedding reception or stealing an evening for themselves away from the pre-fight hoopla, Raija's wide-eyed openness and Olli's shuffling chivalry certainly imbue the film with some much needed emotional texture, but it's not enough. Given that we've had no access to them before the whole machinery of the 'big event' is in motion, for the most part, it's difficult to see them as much more than chess pieces in a game not of their own making.

The performances of the two leads and that of Eero Milonoff, as Olli's scheming promoter, all do the film credit, and as an impressively rendered piece of history, it's easy to see the film resonating with a domestic audience. But the rest of the art-house crowd may find the current 7.8 average IMDb rating a little generous; 6.8 is probably closer to the mark. (insert your own joke about the film not being a 'knockout' here)


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Details

Country:

Finland | Sweden | Germany

Language:

Finnish | English

Release Date:

2 September 2016 (Finland) See more »

Also Known As:

The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki See more »

Filming Locations:

Vartiosaari, Helsinki, Finland See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

EUR1,200,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$562,537
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital (SRD)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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