British people are just so funny!
London teacher Poppy Cross (Sally Hawkins, in a Golden Globe-winning role) is eternally cheerful, but when someone steals her beloved bike, she takes up driving and gets paired with Scott (Eddie Marsan), an instructor who’s her polar opposite. The relationship is strained till Poppy’s bright personality attracts a co-worker, making Scott unexpectedly jealous.
Director Mike Leigh is always known for making true tales, that feature dark drama, but also a great deal of comedy in between. With his he does that so, but not without providing us one of the most lovely, and amusing female characters in quite some time.
The main source of praise here is Sally Hawkins, in a total tour-de-force performance here as Poppy. Poppy is a very likable and memorable character because she is easily the most joyful, playful, and pleasant movie character that has graced the screen in a while. A lot of crazy things happen to Poppy in this movie: she gets her bike stolen, she has to take driving lessons from the most uptight, toxic person one could ever meet, and she talks to a deranged hobo, among other things. Yet even throughout all that, she still smiles, cracks jokes, and keeps her head high. This movie is basically a showcase of Poppy’s unwavering optimism, even when times are at their toughest. But its not just Hawkins that shines, Eddie Marsan does a great job as well. They play these two completley different people, who somehow find ways to argue, as well as entertain the audience with their perfect comedic timing. By the end, there’s one scene by Marsan that is just perfect, and makes you feel so much more with this character.
The screenplay is great as well. It’s funny, with constant jokes just flying out the wahzoo, but there is still a great deal of seriousness to it. The movie shows how we should laugh at every moment in life, dark or funny, but we should also not to forget to take some things seriously in life. That idea is brought up in many points, but not as well as I would have liked it. The ending could have been a lot better, and I wish there was a bit more to it, than just what I got.
There were also some scenes I didn’t quite get and I don’t know why they were put in their other than to just show Poppy, being funny. There’s a scene where she talks to a hobo, so random, and made no sense, as well as another scene, with this bad kid, who is beat at home, that could have been really powerful too, but it didn’t end on anything, and felt like a waste.
Consensus: Happy-Go-Lucky may have some problems with its overall message, and story, but is funny, swiftly written, and features incredible performances from Hawkins, and Marsan, who feed up the screen every time their on it.
Like Amelie, I just can’t watch these as anything less than fodder. Pleasant, but nothing more.
It is pleasant, but it’s not a life-changing experience.
Obviously, it is not as deep as other Leigh films, but I still loved it. I left it off my top ten back then, but it might even be in my five or so of 2008 now.
His other films are so emotional, especially his new one, which is apparently amazing, but its funny, and although its not full of all heart, its got plenty of deal of emotions, especially by the end.