This is a film about.... nothing. Yes, that's right - there's no real plot to speak of, and the charactors don't "develope". And yet - it is eppervescent joy. Sally Hawkins is a marvel as Poppy, a 30 year old elementary school teacher whose outlook on life is so infectiously cheery that she can somehow approach each day with a smile (no small task there).
She is ofttimes too irreverent, but all in good fun, and really, as she says - she's just trying to bring happiness to people's lives.
Counteracting this is her driving instructor, a wonderfully tightly wound and wounded Eddy Marsan as Scott - who rages against the system and a life he feels he has been cornered into. The interaction between the two is fine acting and what gives the film its depth. Otherwise, it is simply a series of real life vignettes that show how Poppy takes what life gives her with a smile.
There are scenes with an obviously troubled young boy (he goes around the school hitting others) - these scenes are simply portrayed and, like the rest of the film, don't resolve - just move the story and hint at deeper parellells (as a teacher, Poppy tries to get the boy help; just as she ultimately tries to help the damaged Scott).
The script holds some wonderfully funny lines and small charactors, like the Flaminco teacher, who is hilarious.
Even with the predictable moments, the film stays true to its tenor, making scenes that could melt into standard soap opera fare into something that appears quirky, and for that, all the more real. The trip to Poppy's pregnant younger sister shows this in spades. Said younger sister berates Sally for being irresponsible; telling her she needs to settle down, and if nothing more, invest in real estate. She then breaks down, saying that she "settled" - all the while her husband wants to entertain his guests by playing video games with them. All too real, and a really well done sequence.
There are hints of lesbianism between Poppy and her roommate of 10 years - but that is simply a smoke screen - for their love for each other reaches far above the carnal - two kindred spirits who both have the same outlook - as the final scene, with the two of them rowing towards nowhere, quietly and so aptly tells us.
It's amazing how a film about nothing can so much about everything!