I'm a 26 year old male Senior Reporter for Weekend Notes. I Graduated from A Bachelor of Arts (Creative Writing and Communication) at UniSA in 2014. As well as writing for WN I have also done pieces for the Adelaide 36s and Mawson Lakes Living.
Published January 31st 2020
3 and a half Stars - A wholesome and entertaining affair
The school holidays may be over but there is still plenty of opportunity to spend some quality time with your kids and see a home grown family film. H is for Happiness fits snugly into this niche. It's cheery beyond measure, bubbly and full of energy.
H is for Happiness is based on the award-winning book, My Life as an Alphabet. It follows the exploits of Candice Phee (Daisy Axom), a 12 year old girl living in charming Albany, Western Australia, as she tries to repair her broken family after a tragedy. Candice is dealing with her families depression, loss and anger yet nothing seems to temper Candice's determination or her bright and optimistic demeanour. She faces many hiccups and detours along the way as she encounters a new boy, Douglas Benson (Wesley Pattan) at school who believes he's from another dimension, tries to help her teacher, Miss Bamford (Miriam Margolyes), with her wandering eye, and deals with her own self-esteem issues. There is much in the world of H is for Happiness that needs to be done and nothing is going to stop Candice from fixing all of it.
H is for Happiness fits it's genre to a T. The mood is light, adventurous and full of jubilation and creativity. Despite dealing with some heavier themes in the form of grief, depression and death the feel-good vibe of H is for Happiness never dips for too long, keeping on pace for a delightful film for kids while still engaging and relatable for adults.
Director John Sheedy makes his feature film debut in H is for Happiness. Sheedy's expertise is theatre, having directed award-winning productions of The Rabbits and Storm Boy. Sheedy's experience helps in some areas while it hampers in others. The design, blocking and set pieces of H is for Happiness are a marvel and show Sheedy's ability to flow a story using his set pieces and imagery. Where the theatre background becomes obvious is in the dialogue. The film is made from a cast of incredibly strong actors, including Richard Roxburgh, Emma Booth and Deborah Mailman, yet the dialogue at some points does feel a bit stilted and forced which can be appropriate on stage but doesn't translate well on screen. Many parts of H is for Happiness could be translated to stage with ease. Maybe this is the intention.
All in all, H is for Happiness, has all the ingredients to be a summertime hit. It is a wholesome as can be film that kids will enjoy while still pleasing to adults. Palace Nova Eastend will be holding an Advance Screening of H is for Happiness at 1:30 PM on the 2nd of February, this will include a Q and A Session with producer Julie Ryan. The films official release is the 6th of Feb.