Academy Award nominee Mike Leigh (Best Director and Best Original Screenplay, Vera Drake, 2004), delivers the delightfully fresh and cheerful comedy Happy-Go-Lucky. Free-spirited and effervescent, Poppy is a schoolteacher ... more »whose unstoppable optimism guides her life. Bubbling forth with giggles, laughter and jokes, life's a bowl of cherries even when she comes across a few pits. Whether it's a cranky driving teacher or a fiery flamenco instructor, Poppy embraces life on the sunny side of the street. It's a joyous, feel-good film you'll find irresistible. Bonus features include: Behind the Wheel of Happy-Go-Lucky, Happy-In-Character, audio commentary by Director Mike Leigh« less
Leah G. (Leahbelle) from GROVER BEACH, CA Reviewed on 10/26/2014...
This was a light hearted story about daily life in modern day Britain. At first the role played by Sally Hawkins seems like she is a frivolous empty headed person, but is revealed to be a deep thinking, caring individual. Excellent acting on the part of all. I forgot I was watching actors and felt like I was watching real people.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
George K. from COLCHESTER, CT Reviewed on 10/10/2013...
Certainly a fun movie with a central character who is just too cheery for words.
Matter of fact, she began to annoy me when she seemed unable to let any conversation just go without a silly interjection.
A serious schoolteacher, deeply concerned with her kids, her personal life leaves a good deal to be desired until she hooks up with a promising young man. Her connection with him infuriates her driving instructor and the story takes a sudden and dangerous turn.
Sally Hawkins is very convincing as the lead, and the supporting cast is quite solid.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Suzanne B. Reviewed on 6/13/2009...
Very charming story about a perky Brit who doesn't let anyone rain on her parade. If you can get past the heavy "cockney" accents, this is a feel-good film, a funkier and more off-beat "Bridget Jones' Diary" tale of a single gal in the U.K.
3 of 4 member(s) found this review helpful.
Happy-Go-Lucky Combines Comedy with Intelligence.
G. Merritt | Boulder, CO | 01/03/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Given the choice of Hollywood or poking steel pins in my eyes, I'd prefer steel pins."--Mike Leigh.
Many of the best films of 2008 were dark and melancholic (Revolutionary Road; The Reader; The Wrestler), with one rare exception: Happy-Go-Lucky. Writer/director Mike Leigh's (Secrets and Lies; Topsy-Turvy; Vera Drake) charming new comedy stars Sally Hawkins as Poppy, a thirty-year-old, free-spirited, North London schoolteacher with an infectious love for life. Over the course of the two-hour film, Poppy's genuine, happy-go-lucky nature is put to the test by a series of misadventures. After her bicycle is stolen, she decides to take weekly driving lessons. Her creepy, verbally-abusive instructor, Scott (Eddie Marsan), proves to be Poppy's complete opposite. He is the morose, self-loathing embodiment of road rage, who could benefit from anger-management classes. Poppy's happiness is also put to the test by her flamenco dance teacher, her sisters, a homeless head-case, a school bully, and by her chiropractor. She takes life in stride with convincing equanimity. It would not require a stretch of the imagination to think of Poppy as a happy bodhisattva. Already a master of her own happiness, she sets out to use her Poppy-qualities to liberate other characters from their own unhappiness, and to bring a smile to the world. She succeeds.
Sally Hawkins is reason enough to experience this film, a film which will undoubtedly launch her career to new heights. Just as Audrey Tautou is synonymous with Amelie, Hawkins will become synonymous with Happy-Go-Lucky. Her performance is brilliant. She brings emotional depth and intelligence to Poppy, a performance which resulted in an award for Best Actress at the 2008 Berlin Film Festival.
There are many things to love about Leigh's film--a film that lives up to its title. Happy-Go-Lucky is a film that would have never been by the Hollywood studios that consider male-driven movies by Judd Apatow (The 40-Year-Old Virgin; Knocked Up) and Adam Sandler to be good comedy models. In 2008, both Sally Hawkins and Anna Faris (The House Bunny) transcended that Hollywood formula with their fresh comic performances. It is no surprise that reviewers including Roger Ebert, New York Times critics Manohla Dargis, Stephen Holden, and A.O. Scott, New York Magazine critic David Edelstein, and Los Angeles Times critic Kenneth Turan are now including Happy-Go-Lucky among their Top Ten Films of 2008. The film recently received a Golden Globe nod for Best Motion Picture-Comedy. Happily recommended as one of the best films of 2008.
WW85 | New York, NY United States | 03/30/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Someones acceptance of this movie totally hinges on their tolerance of Sally Hawkins character. If you are charmed by goofy, never stop talking British eccentrics then you may like Happy Go Lucky.
If people who never shut up annoy you, people who will say anything just to be saying something, then this probably ain't the movie for you.
I was surprised because I'm a big Mike Leigh fan. Life is Sweet is an all time favorite and was far more off center and weird than Happy Go Lucky. It had plenty of weird characters that all became endearing and real by the end. I kept waiting for Hawkins character to become lovable the way the mom did in Life is Sweet, the way the bloviating Jim Broadbent did in Topsy-Turvy. Never happens. Happy Go Lucky by contrast is filled with a mix of either annoying characters (Hawkins, driving instructor, Flamenco instructor) or dull characters (co-workers, boyfriend, abused student, roommate).
Leigh's penchant for not working off of scripts goes wrong in this one and turns the movie into a bunch of patched together skits that do little to build a cohesive whole. It's telling that the best scene in the movie, her encounter with a homeless man, is the only time she has very little to say. Unfortunately, the scene is compromised because it is a totally forced situation. Just as in a slasher movie where people always do stupid things to get themselves killed, we are expected to accept that someone would actually walk down a dark alley in a bad neighborhood at night in hopes of making an interesting acquaintance. It reeks of plot device and undermines the scene.
The movie gets a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes, Hawkins won a Golden Globe and universal acclaim. So obviously, I'm not seeing something everyone else did. You may want to rent it and judge for yourself..."
Plot, Good; Character Study, Great
M. Thomsen | San Pedro, CA USA | 02/04/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is all about Poppy, played by Sally Hawkins. Single in London. Positive, cheerful, and generally embodies the title of the movie. Every situation is to be faced with good spirit, a light attitude, and cheer.
At the beginning it seems that she will overrun a challenge like a tank running over a building in a WW II flick. Smiles. Banter. Humor. Irrepressible. Even when alone.
The challenges grow. A problem student. A vagrant in a deserted part of town. A doctor visit. A dance instructor with issues.
And then the new champion for Driving Instructor From Satan, played by Eddie Marsan. These scenes are classics. As in many movies confrontation is important to good comedy or drama. The theater I saw this in was laughing its collective heads off. The driving lessons make me smile even as I type this.
How Poppy reacts to each challenge - and how others react to Poppy - is the core of this movie. The plot is mostly a string of episodes. Mike Leigh does an outstanding job directing, finding a second level to each situation. Funny and happy. But also thoughtful and a little gritty.
Sally Hawkins should be up for an Oscar in 2009, but that is a whole other discussion."
Hyperactive happiness is put to the test
Joseph Haschka | Glendale, CA USA | 10/04/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"HAPPY-GO-LUCKY is one of those quirky British films that won't be remembered as one of the best you've ever seen, but is worth a look and four stars because, as I said to my wife after our advance screening, it "has its 5-star moments".
The protagonist is Poppy (Sally Hawkins), a frenetically happy, 30-year old, primary school teacher living in London's northern reaches with her roommate Zoe (Alexis Zegerman). Poppy's good humor is so inexorable that, while it serves her well with her young charges, it often abrades the patience of adults. Only Zoe is imperturbable.
As with other films of the genre (Local Hero, The Full Monty, Calendar Girls, Waking Ned Devine), the plot revolves not so much around events as the personalities and eccentricities of the players.
The single best overall performance is perhaps that by Eddie Marsan as the scarily intense Scott, Poppy's driving instructor, whose deep-seated, smoldering anger at the world reflects a tightly wound mental state 180 degrees opposite that of his student. Confined together in the small space of Scott's car, an explosion seems always but a hair-trigger's pull away.
Definitely, the single best scene, the one that had the audience in stitches, is played by Karina Fernandez as a Flamenco teacher, when she attempts to describe to and inculcate in her class of adult students the passion necessary for the dance. Talk about meltdown!
The conflict, if it can be called such, of the story comes as Poppy's happy-go-luckiness scrapes up against the unhappy lives and internal turmoil of others: the mentally unstable derelict she encounters under a bridge in a bleak industrial section of the city, her pregnant and subliminally unhappy younger sister, a bullying and disturbed boy in her class, and, above all, Scott. As the last scene fades into the film credits, the viewer is left wondering if Poppy's felicitous worldview will survive life. One suspects it will."
Maine Writer | Maine, USA | 01/10/2010
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Going into Happy-Go-Lucky, I wanted to like it. The premise sounded interesting -- a relentlessly positive person facing life and perhaps overcoming less than positive moments. Oh, what a let down. Truth be told, Happy-Go-Lucky is the story of a daffy woman who we never really get to know -- a woman who laughs (at times inappropriately) at almost everything, including physical pain. In fact, she can't bring herself to answer a straight question without giggling and coming up with some whimsical nonsense line looking to draw a laugh, avoid the question, or both. Through all of this, she remains an ultimately irritating enigma, keeping from the audience any clue about what makes her tick, why she can't seem to take anything seriously (including the feelings of others), and why she does oddly dangerous and inappropriate things (like striking up a conversation with a brooding homeless man in the dark of night in a secluded spot -- and sticking around even after he acts in ways that might reasonably be perceived as threatening).
In all of her laughter, the main character seems so incapable of listening to other people or reading their feelings that she laughs off signs that her driving instructor has significant mental problems and might be developing a threatening interest in her. When he finally blows his lid and does something that would make any sensible person call the police -- if not for her sake, then for the sake of others who might follow -- she ultimately laughs it off while paddling down life's highway, oblivious, it seems, to real human interaction and the need for some grain of seriousness to make all the laughter have any worth at all."