Written by: American Dream Cinema | Directed by: Devin Scott | Genre: Drama
Disney and Disneyland. An institution of life and the dream of what life should/could be. For Anna, who narrates this 17-minute short film, it was all about visiting this dream-like place and entering the Autopia. A place where she could learn to drive and forget her troubles... and troubles she had in abundance. Far more than any young kid should have.
Anna's parents had split up, and she blamed her father, who was a preacher. It was him who had cheated on her mother during his traveling sermons, and now their family was in ruins. It was all his fault. He was the cause of her sadness, and she would never forgive him. It wasn't long before her father planned a cross-country road trip, and Anna was going to come along. They would stop at a bunch of attractions, and along the way, her father would perform sermons until the trip wound up to the crowning jewel. A trip to Disneyland and, of course, Autopia. As the duo make their way across the country, Anna tells her story to us viewers who, if anything like me, can't wait for Anna's dreams to finally come true and for her to finally begin to embrace the theme of this short film. Forgiveness. I won't spoil any of the details within My Happy Place but will say that things don't go quite as planned. Sometimes not everything is exactly what you think it is.
When I first began this short film, I didn't know what to expect, and once Anna began telling her story, I was still not sure where things were going. Was My Happy Place about Disneyland? In particular about how much the theme park has changed over the decades? Did some form of abuse happen? Quickly I learned where things were going and that although this film was about Anna's youthful perception of things that happened during her childhood, there was a bigger story unraveling through it all. The story of forgiveness. That's the message I got from this film. But message aside, it was still really cool just to watch all the clips that make up this film. Clips of life in a way we'll probably never see again.
For a lot of people, this film will ring their nostalgia bones, and for others, My Happy Place will easily be a visual curiosity focused on life from many decades ago. Essentially, My Happy Place is one big montage with Anna's voice guiding us along the journey. I can't exactly put my finger on why... but I really liked this film. It has a good message, is not over the top, and serves up a heaping helping of visual history. 4/5 stars, and thank you for reading.
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