“New Year’s Day” is not a typical comedy in that there are several scenes that involve high drama and suspense. The basic premise of the film is simple and easy for viewers to follow. “New Year’s Day” celebrates the Happy New Year Greeting Cards 2022 value of life and how far people are willing to go to experience life fully. Intertwined with this message is the reality that trauma and despair are a part of everyday life. The audience can relate to this fact, because the emotions displayed by the main characters are genuine and believable.
The opening scenes of the film show a pair of friends, Jake and Steven (played by Andrew Lee Potts and Bobby Barry respectively), who surprisingly develop a solid friendship during high school. The two of them are unlikely pals because Steven is the son of a well-known local politician, while Jake comes from a bad family background. At school, the pair get along so well with one another that they even develop their own language so that their peers can’t understand their conversations. Over the Christmas school break, Jake and Steven go on a school skiing trip overseas. The pair looks forward to getting away from all of their struggles and challenges back in England. However, tragedy strikes on the first day of the trip.
While Jake, Steven, and their friends are getting ready to go skiing, an avalanche occurs and eleven people are killed. The pair’s teacher initially survives but dies a couple of days later in the hospital, making Jake and Steven the only ones from their group to survive the accident. When Jake and Steven return to England, the enormity of their situation begins to dawn on them. Because Jake and Steven grew up and went to school in a close-knit town, everyone in the town is affected by the events that transpired. Instead of having multiple funerals for the victims, a mass funeral is held for all of those who were lost. As the only survivors, Jake and Steven find this moment particularly difficult.
Although Jake and Steven were initially relieved to survive, their emotions begin to change when they realize that some of the townspeople blame them for what happened and wish they had also perished in the avalanche. The raw emotion from the experience causes Jake and Steven to experience feelings of despair. A key moment in the film occurs on New Year’s Day when the pair decides to jump off a cliff to their deaths. However, as they are preparing to jump, they have a sudden change of heart and decide to live for one more year and experience life to the fullest.
For the next year, Jake and Steven live life on the edge and complete an outrageous set of tasks, including robbing a bank, burning down buildings, killing a policeman, and many more. The two make a pact that they must complete all of these tasks before killing themselves in one year’s time. Throughout the film, the audience gets to witness the thought processes and doubts that occur in the minds of both Jake and Steven. The acting of Potts and Barry is excellent and gives real insight into the minds of a couple of teenagers who think they have no hope for the future.
Suri Krishnamma, the award winning British director of “New Year’s Day,” accurately captures the most poignant moments in the film and gives an accurate representation of what life is like for so many lost and confused teenagers. Writer Ralph Brown switches between themes of generational conflicts, suicide, and tragedy to try to portray what it must be like to survive a major accident. The audience can feel some sympathy toward the pair, yet there is also disgust at some of the terrible things they attempt. Above all, the pact between Jake and Steven illustrates their strong friendship and shows how they support each other through bad times.