This Perfect Day

****

Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

This Perfect Day
"Keating is quite a find, shouldering the weight of the story without lapsing into sentimentality as many young performers would."

It's a big day for Julia (Michelle Keating). Not because they can afford a guitar, though they'd love to be able to and, as it turns out, they do know how to play. No - there's a reason why, out of all the music stores in all the world, they had to talk into this one, and it has to do with the man behind the counter. At first wary of what seems to be yet another kid who plans to hang around for as long as possible without buying anything, John (Lee Mason) is struck by the obvious investment they've made in developing their skills, and then by something else. Julia reminds him of someone.

There's a magic about music stores that often creates a sense of awe in the young. They seem like the gateway to a dreamworld in which all sorts of things are possible, in which life doesn't have to follow a prescribed social path. At present, young non-binary people don't have much option but to live as outsiders, which makes the idea of connecting with others in that position all the more attractive. But John has chosen his way of life, chosen a degree of isolation because he prefers life that way. He's not in a rush to build new connections - or take on new responsibilities stemming from the legacy of old ones.

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Redolent with the weight of the past its protagonists didn't share, this Perfect Day does a lot with its eight minute running time. Neither character knows quite what to expect of the other but as it emerges that there are no demands being made here, John begins to let his guard down. Their shared love of music might be more important than anything else.

Keating is quite a find, shouldering the weight of the story without lapsing into sentimentality as many young performers would. Mason is a generous performer, creating space for them to do their thing. Director Lydia Rui makes good use of the small space of the music store, whose detailed interior tells a lifetime's worth of stories. Outside, before and after, a car on a long open road suggests boundless possibility.

This Perfect Day screened at Tribeca 2019. It and its young star seem destined to go places.

Reviewed on: 11 Jul 2019
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Julia, a wayward youth, walks into a music store. This could be the day that changes their life.

Director: Lydia Rui

Writer: Lydia Rui

Starring: Lee Mason, Michelle Keating, Hannah Koch

Year: 2018

Runtime: 8 minutes

Country: Australia

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