A same-sex marriage reunites some friends and family. Things begin to get awkward when the wine starts flowing and exes are reunited. What happens after is something very unpredictable and is definitely something they will talk about for the next wedding.
For most of 42 Seconds of Happiness, we get introduced to friends and family of the brides-to-be as they catch up and chat over some glasses of wine. Throughout the gossip, you can sense that there’s quite a bit of tension between some of the bridal party. But that is also where the film kind of loses you.
What you are watching are old friends catching up, exes being forced to talk and estranged family members blaming each other for various things. At times it really feels like you are at a restaurant sitting next to a really loud table and can’t help but eavesdrop but also can’t make out what exactly is going on. It can be hard to focus on all of the characters’ gossip along with the sometimes shaky camera work. Things really don’t pick up until about the fifty-minute mark.
“…old friends catching up, exes being forced to talk and estranged family members blaming each other for various things.”
Things get really interesting and suspenseful when an uninvited guest shows up. The guest happens to be an ex-wife of one of the friend’s new boyfriend and also happens to have a gun. Yeah, it kind of sounds complicated. From here on is where you can’t take your eyes off of the screen. What also helps is the acting.
The acting in the film is pretty exceptional. Even though it seems like there really isn’t a main character, each actor makes their character seem very authentic and that goes a long way in any type of film, indie or not.
The film also adds an interesting element in the form of a hurricane tracker. The actual hurricane is only talked about once and that’s during the time when the distraught ex with a gun comes in. What happens is that the phone begins to ring and Cybil (Becca Ayers) answers it and it’s a warning about the hurricane. All the characters do is shrug it off. But the hurricane tracker pops up on the screen during interesting times. It seems to signify the disaster which has been building up with all of the tension of the bridal party, but if that wasn’t the director’s intention (Christina Kallas) then it is another confusing thing about the film because it’s something that really doesn’t serve much of a purpose.
I’ll give credit where credit is due, 42 Seconds of Happiness is unlike any film I have ever seen. Its plot may be slow and unclear until late in the film (maybe too late) but its authentic cast and its unpredictability are what it has going for it.
42 Seconds of Happiness (2016) Written and directed by Christina Kallas. Starring Becca Ayers, Margaret Kelly Murphy, Robert Z. Grant, Vandit Bhatt, John J. Concado, Laura Pruden, Toni Robinson-May, Catherine Cobb Ryan, Lauren Sowa, Chris Veteri.
4 out of 10 stars