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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Movie review: Spokane-filmed ‘A Good Enough Day’ may change the course of your life forever

By Audrey Overstreet For The Spokesman-Review

Having snagged what can be a hard-to-get distribution deal for an indie film, “A Good Enough Day,” made in Spokane, dropped last week on Amazon Prime and Apple TV. Now anyone with an internet connection can watch this beautiful, award-winning meditation on life and death.

“A Good Enough Day,” portraying the last day in the life of a man trying desperately to repair fractured family relationships before it is too late, clocks in at a concise 84 minutes. But the cinematic experience will stay with audiences long after they turn off their televisions or close their laptops. The movie may even change the course of lives forever, if the filmmakers get their way.

“There’s a reason why every TV show (book and movie) throughout the creation of man is about a dysfunctional family,” said Los Angeles-based actor Josh Wingate, who plays a doctor and friend to the main character, Tyler. “I don’t have a perfect family and I have relationships that are unmended … I’m hoping that us crazy suffering artists can inspire that mending.”

This reporter got the chance to view “A Good Enough Day” on Feb. 13 on the big screen at Spokane-based Hamilton Studio, the actual venue where it was filmed, as those involved celebrated the movie’s worldwide distribution launch. The filmmakers Don Hamilton and his wife, Lorna St. John, owners of Hamilton Studio, held a Q&A after the screening with the film’s director, writers and some members of the cast.

Several among the crowd of more than 60 people were still dabbing tears from their eyes when the lights came up. Others were stunned into silence. The audience’s comments mostly centered around the acting: how natural the characters seemed, how moving and awkward the conversations were, and how stunningly good the acting was.

Turns out the acting felt unscripted, because it was. Many of the conversations were completely ad-libbed. The script was only 24 pages long, less than a third of the typical size of a full-length feature script. For example, the three pivotal and painful phone conversations between the main character and his sister, ex-wife and daughter, (played by Lisa Fuller, Sherri Saum, and Josephine Keefe), were unscripted.

“We wrote biographies of the three women in the phone calls, what they would have known about (the main character) at that time, which left out a lot,” said screenplay co-writer Graham Sharman. “So that was the actresses taking the biography information that we gave them and exercising their acting chops.”

“As the conversations unfolded, we had a sort of map for each of them of where they were coming from and where they wanted to go,” added Graham’s co-writer (and brother) Brett Clothier-Sharman. Neither the main actor Trevor St. John nor the supporting actresses knew what information the character on the other side of the phone conversations wanted to relay. So the reactions come across as real and raw.

As one audience member put it: “I love hearing how you did that, because, I mean, it was hard to watch. Like life is.”

“He and I were the only ones who knew everything,” said Brett, referring to his brother, Graham. “So not even the crew knew, nobody, especially Trevor, knew the bombshells that were going to get thrown at him.”

“By the end, I didn’t know if I was watching a documentary or not,” gushed one audience member.

“That’s as good a compliment as it gets,” Trevor St. John said with a smile.

Trevor St. John, (who has acted in several movies, television series, and soap operas, including “The Bourne Ultimatum,” “Roswell, New Mexico,” “Containment” and “One Life To Live”) not only stars in the movie, but also co-wrote and directed “A Good Enough Day.”

The entire production was a family affair, brought about when St. John’s mother and stepfather, who happen to be Hamilton Studio owners Lorna and Don, proposed that their 50-year-old progeny come back to his hometown of Spokane from Los Angeles during the COVID lull to make a film.

Trevor St. John accepted the challenge to write, direct and star in his first feature and corralled his cousins Brett Clothier-Sharman and Graham Sharman to co-write the script. The three cousins came up with the name Loud Boys Productions, in homage to Lorna St. John, who once scolded the trio when they were about 9 years old for being too loud at a family gathering.

“She yelled, ‘It’s not Loud Boys Day!’ ” Trevor St. John recalled, laughing.

Trevor St. John said he never worried about directing himself in a film.

“It was probably due to a bit of ignorance and maybe some arrogance,” he said. “I’ve worked with a lot of great directors, and I think I’ve just absorbed a lot and I maybe rather foolishly had a lot of confidence that I could do it.”

Clinching a distribution deal in early 2024 is only the latest in what the Hamilton Studio team hopes will be a long string of accolades for the film. “A Good Enough Day” was a “Best of the Northwest” selection at the 2021 Spokane International Film Festival and won awards in 2022 at the Budapest Film Festival and Vancouver International Film Awards.

The movie has just been released, but so far has earned a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes. As one reviewer raved on the website: “One of the things the movie asks from the audience is try to understand and accept your own complexities and nuances in order to live a life worth living … You find yourself pulsating back and forth for permission of being accepted and maybe heal from where you are.

“Silence is accurate after watching it, for it’s working on you.”