Frida is at a mattress store, but the task of buying a new one is proving surprisingly hard.
She’s surrounded by couples and families all on the same errand, reminding her of what she doesn’t have: she split recently from her husband and is on the hunt for a new bed as a result.
But then she ends up meeting an intriguing stranger named Adam, who is also sitting on the same mattress she’s on. They end up sharing a spark, helping Friday remember just what beds are for.
Helmed by an all-female trio of film creatives — director Drew Denny, writer/lead actor Rebecca Louise Miller and cinematographer Autumn Eakin — this small gem of a romance possesses plenty of unassuming charm, built on a sturdy foundation of emotional intelligence, well-crafted writing and performances that are both witty and vulnerable.
The film unfolds with a gentle, almost fragile way, which introduces Frida and her state of mind suitably. There’s a pale softness to the lighting and color, and a sense of almost tender delicacy to the framing and compositions in the images, almost as if the camera recognizes Frida’s vulnerability.
Newly single and grappling with the raw grief of the recent loss of her marriage, buying a mattress is both a mundane domestic chore and an overwhelming and expensive commitment — a perfect parable for a life partnership. This idea isn’t lost on Frida, as she watches happy couples around her lie on mattresses, testing them out for their homes and their futures together. Taking the time to etch out her state of mind, the storytelling seems to suggest a story about loss, grief and confronting the realities of single life.
But when Adam enters the picture, it offers both the film and Frida a lovely spark of surprise. They share both well-written witty banter, but they also exchange moments of openness and connection as they keep encountering one another in the store.
Due to her own grief and sadness, Frida doesn’t quite see what’s happening, but with the help of an impromptu community gathered in the mattress store — featuring warm and vivid performances by solid seasoned character actors like Catherine Curtin and Michelle Hurst — she begins to embrace the spark of an unexpected attraction.
Because there’s a “meet cute” at the center of the plot, “One Day Home” ticks an essential box of romantic comedy, all while throwing in a quirky yet evocative setting and plenty of va-va-voom. But the main arc for Frida — and for the audience — isn’t just about the thrill of a new flirtation or the possibility of a new relationship.
Instead, “One Day Home” is about choosing life, hope and possibility in the midst of harrowing loss and grief. Frida’s appetite for life comes back in an unexpected moment and setting. The choice is whether or not she frames it as an aberration of opportunity, or decides to let it guide her to action.
Human connection and contentment are always possible, even while experiencing challenge and sadness — and as Frida learns, with the help of newfound allies, these small moments of delight and collected kindnesses add up. If we’re conscious of them and intentional in our choices, their momentum can open up unexpected new and promising chapters in our lives. And in the meantime, they can add a much-needed spark, and a tiny dose of optimism, in the sometimes difficult pursuit of human happiness.