Another Happy Day (Nora Fiffer, 2023): USA

Reviewed by Kyra Siegan. Viewed at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival 2024.

Another Happy Day directed by Nora Fiffer, skillfully navigates the struggles of postpartum depression and the journey of first-time parenthood. Led by a talented cast including Lauren Lapkus, Jean Elie, and Marilyn Dodds, the film follows  Joana, a new mother grappling with the challenges of her newfound role. The film explores themes of marital dynamics, work-life balance, and unexpected familial connections.

Another Happy Day opens with Joana’s comical struggle to navigate her way into bed,  sandwiched between her husband Lucien and their daughter Alma. This awkward scene unfolds over minutes, accompanied only by the sound of creaking floorboards and Joana’s heavy breathing. This moment humorously underscores Joana’s exhaustion and the relentless cycle of tasks that define her daily existence. As Joana finally settles into bed, the realization of a forgotten burner adds another layer of chaos before she is interrupted once more by the cries of her baby, vividly capturing the relentless demands of motherhood and the inevitable events that are bound to push one to the brink.

Another Happy Day is refreshing to mothers everywhere, as it sheds light on a relatable struggle experienced by billions worldwide. Remarkably, both cast and crew members found themselves grappling with postpartum depression during and after the production, underscoring the authenticity and prevalence of this often-overlooked experience.

Another Happy Day serves as a touching exploration of the postpartum journey, capturing its plethora of highs and lows with eloquence and raw emotion. Rather than the idealized portrayal of motherhood perpetuated by societal norms, the film courageously confronts the darker realities of the maternal experience. By portraying postpartum depression, this film offers comfort and validation  to many mothers navigating similar struggles, while creating greater understanding and empathy among audiences. 

In its portrayal of the complexities of motherhood, Another Happy Day emerges as a powerful testament to the resilience of the human spirit in the face of adversity, Through its depiction of Joana’s journey, the film invites viewers to confront the challenges of parenthood with compassion and solidarity, reaffirming the idea that no one is alone in their struggles and that shared experiences can serve as a beacon of hope in the darkest times.

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