Movie Review: One Perfect Day

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Musician Tommy Matisse is on a journey to revolutionise opera when tragedy strikes his family and he has to return home, where he finds the musical inspiration he was hoping for.

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Paul Currie, 2004

When we first meet Tommy he’s wandering the streets of Melbourne, listening to “life’s symphony”, the sounds of every day life that sounds like music to his ears, in the interests of revolutionising opera. Yes, opera. He and his friends seem to live on the clubbing scene, although he hasn’t been home in a while. His sister Emma calls him on her seventeenth birthday but he brushes her off and she ends up dying of a drug overdose. Tommy’s girlfriend Alysse, who got Emma the drugs from their drug dealer friend, takes Emma to the hospital and then runs when Emma collapses in the entrance. Tommy comes home to his distraught mother and subsequently gets dragged into the DJ music scene, with opportunities coming from creeper producer Hector Lee that could put them all on the map. There are a few neat club/rave scenes as things start looking up for the separated lovers.  Tragedy inevitably creeps up on them again until finally Tommy finds the inspiration he was looking for out of heartbreak.

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The biggest problem I had with this movie was terrible fridging of women. Both Tommy’s sister and his girlfriend are hurt in order to further his story, and they’re both fragile, damaged little snowflakes. Leeanna Walsman and Abbie Cornish are both beautiful and put in great, sensitive performances, but the movie does them absolutely no favours. The sister’s greatest crime was apparently getting pregnant before dying, while the girlfriend’s imagined infidelity is the real wedge that drives her and Tommy apart – he takes her back as soon as he finds out it wasn’t true, in spite of the fact that he initially accused her of killing his sister. Tommy is a whiny, selfish character, constantly obsessed with his music at the expense of relationships. Nathan Phillips is also excellent as the incredibly annoying but ultimately good-hearted drug dealer, the only character with any real redemption arc.  The movie is shot nicely and the infusion of music throughout is excellent; the movie is a labour of love by lovers of music and rave culture, and the passion for music is felt throughout.  There’s a fusion of classical and then-modern techno, with indie music playing in many of the scenes.  What results is more of a feast for the ears than the mind or the heart; it tries to be emotional, but the morals of the movie are all over the place, and it seems like it only finds goodness in great music.

It’s a mad, whirling orgy of drugs and dance music, created for the sole purposes of getting across musical ideas that are inaccessible to most of the public (although there are some terrific musical scenes). There are some lovely performances and the quality of filmmaking is pretty good, but it falls flat with average storytelling, a lack of moral compass and terrible sexism.

One Perfect Day on IMDb

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