Set in the beautiful St Kilda, Some Happy Day is an Australian independent feature film that follows two separate women as they juggle their current and past traumas with their daily lives.
Tina, played by Peta Brady, is a homeless woman who is attempting to leave the city to set up a better life for herself, planning to go to uni and study nursing. Her plan is halted when she discovers her partner has spent all of their money.
Frances, played by Mary Helen Sassman, is a social worker, struggling to make potentially the biggest decision of her life while supporting her gambling brother.
The women meet when Tina seeks help from the crisis centre where Frances is working. Tina is ready to receive assistance when her partner shows up and forces her to leave, in doing so he steals Frances’s handbag with keys to her car.
Both women then end up in bucolic Daylesford, where their paths cross again.
Mary Helen Sassman and James O’Connell in Some Happy Day
Catherine Hill is at the helm of this production, performing expertly across her roles as Director, Writer and Producer. The simple yet enthralling story humanises homelessness in an authentic and non-convoluted way, this is likely due to her close connection to the subject from over two decades of working with homeless people.
Cameron Zayec’s cinematography captures Catherine’s vision with great integrity and highlights beauty in the most unexpected places; whether that be within a person or scenery. Abe Pogos’ composition pulses through the film with an appropriate subtlety, which completes the picture.
Peta Brady in Some Happy Day
In essence, Some Happy Day shows two women in very different circumstances yet going through the same struggles. They learn to free themselves from these struggles in similar ways. Both seek out the assistance of others, decide to prioritise their futures and release themselves from bad relationships.
Catherine has spoken about her goal to tell an authentic story of homelessness and through the character of Tina, she has done that. Peta Brady’s deep and meaningful portrayal of Tina humanises homelessness. The film’s 24-hour timeline grants us insight into the life of a homeless person, as we witness not only Tina’s actions but understand her thoughts and motivations behind them.
Frances also shows complexity towards the latter third of the film. Mary Helen Sassman brings a multi-layered approach to the character to match the change in emotions and thoughts Frances experiences. When the characters meet for the final time in the film they have both transformed in their own ways. This exchange and portrayal of change is powerful and perhaps the strongest scene in the film.
The combination of brilliant talent across each aspect of this film has resulted in an engaging, yet simple and honest story about human connection. This team of cast and creatives have pushed through the limitations placed on them as an independent film, creating a stunning piece of universally relevant cinema.