Prior to principal photography, director John Sheedy said: "I am thrilled to be returning to WA [Western Australia] for my directorial debut. Having spent several years in Perth creating theatrical works for young people and families, it seems very fitting." He added: "I am equally delighted to have the opportunity to work with producers Julie Ryan of Cyan Films, Tenille Kennedy and screenwriter and producer Lisa Hoppe who has constructed a hilariously quirky and moving script that is sure to resonate with any child or family that feels different. I look forward to re-engaging in the assembly of local talented actors and creatives and spending time in Albany which is the perfect backdrop to bring this story to the screen." See more »
After all of the credits, there is an extra scene where the man watering his lawn is laying down on the grass with the water still running. See more »
E is for Enjoyable, I is for Imperfect.
H is For Happiness has a lot of tonal shifts; some of which work, some don't. There is trauma and dysfunction at the base of this film, but there is a sunny disposition that might work for some kids, but the darker elements certainly won't, and likewise the adults will struggle with some of the twee and tweenie elements but appreciate the more substantial themes here of healing, redemptive love and tolerance.
Emma Booth and Richard Roxburgh make for an odd couple - both excellent actors in their own right, but the age difference immediately struck me as a problem. Joel Jackson as the brother to Roxburgh is also bizarre as there is at least 20 + years age difference between them. Nevertheless, the young child actor Daisy Axon is wonderful and truly shines in the leading role. Also impressive here is the quirky Bi National Miriam Margolyes as the very haughty and optically challenged school teacher. She is a lot of fun and quite poignant.
I am not sure that the various themes and tones of the competing narrative threads sit all that well together here, but at the end of the day, there's lots to enjoy here. Exactly who the audience is though is a conundrum as it often is for the Aussie film industry when a story as interesting as this one comes along.
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