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The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki(Hymyilevä mies)

It's the summer of 1962, and Olli Mäki has a shot at the world championship title in featherweight boxing. From the Finnish countryside to the bright lights of Helsinki, everything has been prepared for his fame and fortune. All Olli has to do is lose weight and concentrate. But there is a problem – he has fallen in love with Raija.
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75

The Playlist by

Although “Olli Mäki” ostensibly belongs to the boxing film genre as much as it is functions as a romantic drama, it never seems truly invested in the underdog narrative of its title character.
100

Variety by Guy Lodge

Kuosmanen’s unassuming yet immaculate command of tone and form here would impress at any stage of his career, but it’s entirely remarkable in a first feature.
75

The Film Stage by Michael Snydel

It finds a poetically understated ending, but the drama, especially near the end, borders on being too repetitive. Still, it’s a worthwhile showcase for excellent performances, assured direction, and a twist on the sports story that prioritizes character before history.
90

Screen International by Sarah Ward

Low-key performances by the conflicted Lahti and the radiant Airola prove the final knockout hit, with The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki at its best when it’s lingering upon the nuanced expressions on their faces, or highlighting the way their portrayals so convincingly convey their characters’ affections.

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