A Retro yet Modern Film About Music and More
Happy FKN Sunshine
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Music
Year Released: 2023
Runtime: 1h 38m
Director(s): Derek Diorio
Writer(s): Ryan Keller, James Gordon Ross
Cast: Matt Close, Mattea Brotherton, Dana Hodgson, Connor Rueter, Maxime Lauzon, Bridget Graham, Aubrey Rand, Lewis Hodgson, Lisa Boivin, Wes Williams, Ted Dykstra
Where To Watch: Available here
RAVING REVIEW: Amidst present-day North Bay, Ontario's bleak industrial landscape emerges a story of resilience and artistic expression. Directed by Derek Diorio and penned by the talented duo of Ryan Keller and James Gordon Ross, HAPPY FKN SUNSHINE is a testament to the enduring power of music to uplift and inspire even in the direst of circumstances.
The film follows a young man's journey facing seemingly insurmountable odds in the form of a struggling low-income family and a town in the grip of a devastating strike. Undeterred, he is driven by his passion for music and a fierce determination to make a better life for himself and those he loves. His sister, a streetwise entrepreneur, lends a hand by acquiring the one thing he needs to pursue his dreams!
The film drives a delicate balance between comedy, drama, and a modern-day twist on what has become music-based films. I wouldn’t call this a musical, but yet at the same time, music is what drives the film and the passions within.
As the band faces internal issues and resistance from their families, HAPPY FKN SUNSHINE never devolves into cliches. While you can feel the budgetary constraints, each scene is handled with passion and drive by the entire cast and crew. Derek Diorio balances the cast, allowing each character to shine. Even when a cast member struggles occasionally, the rest of the film picks them up. The film's themes of hope, perseverance and the transformative power of art are timeless and universal, sure to resonate with audiences of all backgrounds.
In the end, HAPPY FKN SUNSHINE is a film that will leave you tapping your foot, humming along, and smiling from ear to ear (for the most part.)
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[photo courtesy of OTHER ANIMAL]