If you want to see an impeccably well done film tackle a difficult subject, “How Was Your Day?” is a masterclass. It puts ideas of maternal devotion, expectations, unconditional love, and self-doubt under a microscope — all through the story of a mother dealing with a disabled child. It’s dark, but it uses its darkness to powerful effect.
“‘How Was Your Day?’ isn’t an easy watch,” Short of the Week explains. “But, it’s not maudlin for maudlin’s sake—O’Donnell isn’t getting his kicks by making an audience feel sad. Rather, he’s exploring something that isn’t often portrayed on a camera. In society, parents of disabled children are only ever allowed to be noble caretakers. Not only does this film subvert that simplistic notion, it also gets us to empathize with the lead character, even as she does horrible things. It’s difficult material, but navigated with such a deft hand.”
It’s won a slew of awards, including the Best Narrative Short Film at SXSW 2016. And as you watch it, you can see why. Understated, real, and straightforward — it addresses issues that we don’t always like to talk about or even think about. But it does it in a compelling way, that’s sympathetic without being overly sentimental. It’s a short film, but really worth your time. In places, it’s hard to grapple with — but it’s worth it. We often do parents of disabled children a disservice by not giving them room to express or even acknowledge what they may really be struggling with. You can see it here:
It’s not easy watching, but it’s important. Seeing what some people grapple with — something that we often pretend doesn’t happen — is never going to be easy. But it’s worth processing, it’s worth struggling with, it’s worth confronting. This film isn’t afraid to take on an issue that doesn’t settle well — and we shouldn’t be, either.