The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki (Hymyileva mies) 4.0 stars

Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Maki (Hymyileva mies) movie poster

Director and co-writer Juho Kuosmanen’s stab at a boxing movie is so played down, there’s no room for a musical score. It runs just a little over 90 minutes, and you’d be hard-pressed to recall a film in this genre that spends less time in the ring. Based on the life of Finnish boxer Olli Mäki (Jarkko Lahti), who, in 1962, took his shot at the World Featherweight title. Mäki’s “I’ll fight and see what happens” approach to pugilism doesn’t set well with manager Elis Ask (Eero Milonoff), and neither does his love life — he’s a firm believer in the notion that women and fighting don’t mix. But in Mäki’s eyes, his woman is always the main event. Surprisingly, the film doesn’t end with the by-now de rigeur photos of the real-life sparer. Instead, a key to the fate of our two lovers can be found in the closing credits. J.P. Passi’s hand-held black-and-white cinematography cries out for big-screen viewing. 2016.

Scott Marks

This movie is not currently in theaters.

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