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Happy-Go-Lucky Reviews

Page 1 of 181

Super Reviewer

February 13, 2012
An engaging character study about a woman blessed with a sunny disposition. It is a rare occasion that you see a protagonist who's care-free nature isn't looked down upon. Her naivety a source of contempt. Poppy the protagonist is in many ways the antithesis of a protagonist in a Sam Mendes film. She isn't cynical, jaded, or doing all in her power to not drown in the minutiae of everyday life. She is sweet, intuitive, independent, and always looking on the bright side. But rather than having her be an empty sack of smiles, Leigh fleshes her out in a way that even when you don't understand her, you root for her.
Poppy does not wish to imitate "adult" life, but the pressure to do so is ever-present. Responsibilities mount, situations change, and the desire to find someone grows stronger with each day. Her interactions with her driving teacher, a man very consumed with the idea of responsible living, are awkward, funny, poignant, and an interesting point/counterpoint on proper living.
Do I wish that Leigh would have probed a little more into what makes Poppy tick? Yes. But being my first foray into the world of Mike Leigh, I was more than pleased to spend a couple of hours with someone as unique and wonderful as Poppy.
Jens S

Super Reviewer

March 11, 2010
This cheeky comedy about a female teacher who enjoys looking on the bright side of life feels a bit like the British reply to France's Amelie. That mostly goes for the way our main character lives her own life entirely to her own rules and enjoys every minute of it. The way this film follows its protagonist through her regular life is very different, though. Over the course of the two hours, the most exciting events in Poppy's life are her starting driving and tango lessons and meeting a nice guy. The rest of the non-existing plot is about her hanging with her friends, meeting her family, doing her job. That may sound boring and is sometimes a bit irritating due to Poppy's ever-babbling and childish enthusiasm, but it's not without a certain charm. Especially the fights with her choleric driving teacher are very entertaining, sometimes even hilarious. In the end you wonder what exactly that closer look at a couple of weeks in the life of a unique 30 year old British female was supposed to tell you. But you actually catch yourself having a smile on your face.
Saskia D

Super Reviewer

May 31, 2011
Poppy annoyed the crap out of me in the beginning of the movie. You start to think that maybe she has a loose screw somewhere. But when you see the people she meets, and the shit she has to deal with from other people (her driving instructor), her insane cheerfulness isn't that bad after all. It's actually quite refreshing. I'm not saying we should be more like Poppy (gawd no!) but a little more positivity doesn't harm anyone.

Super Reviewer

June 23, 2011
So awful. There are no words. Really bad. Don't watch it.
Ross C

Super Reviewer

November 13, 2010
More of a TV drama than a movie, it has some sweet, if slightly annoying, everyday English characters undergoing their everyday lives without the story ever reaching any momentous conclusion. I suspect this is all part of the director's style; meandering, entertaining realism without a structured story. En-ra-ha!
Daniel P

Super Reviewer

December 18, 2008
Happy-Go-Lucky would be perfect if it had a plot. Instead, what you get is great shooting, great acting, and a great happiness as you watch Poppy go about her aimless, unconventional, thirty-year-old life. This is a film filled with great moments. It frustrates me to read critques where people say "snubbed by the Academy" - like they've seen all the competition or know anything about acting - but this is one case where I'll be just as guilty. Sally Hawkins disappears into this role and brings a touching, mesmerizing, inspiring character to life. Next to watch: ALL of Mike Leigh's films!

Super Reviewer

January 6, 2009
Wow! Add Poppy to my list of favorite movie characters. Sally Hawkins infuses Happy-Go-Lucky with joy and energy, making it an absolute pleasure to watch.

Super Reviewer

October 18, 2008
To be honest, I disagree with all of people's opinion about this movie... They say it was a funny, energetic, and delightful comedy, but what I saw for almost 2 hours was a stupid and boring comedy... The worst of it, this movie doesn't have a story at all... The story just tells about a piece of life from Poppy, a 30 year old kindergarten school teacher that always smile and happy, that she want to bring happiness to everyone... But in my opinion, Poppy character is just similar to a mad woman who didn't found her love life yet so she pretend to be happy by always smiling to everyone... Even the comedy was making me laugh a little, but the most times I just get bored with this movie and questioning myself : "What is the point of this movie?"... Overall, Sally Hawkins maybe delivers a Golden Globe winning comedy performance, but I agree with the Academy Awards that didn't gave a nominee for Sally Hawkins for Best Actress, even though they always have a space for an actress that played in a comedy movie from year to year...
Red L

Super Reviewer

July 18, 2010
I like this film, and I am not quite sure why. Poppy (Sally Hawkins) is a perky young British woman. The movie seems to be a bunch of random scenes about her life. There are times when I just wonder why we are seeing this part of Poppy's life -- can she really be that ditsy? Then there are other scenes like her interaction with Scott the driving instructor that seem quite profound.

I have never seen Sally Hawkins in a film before, but she is a good actress.
Carlos M

Super Reviewer

April 8, 2010
A refreshing feel-good film that will leave you smiling, Happy-Go-Lucky presents a cheerful character that may be initially mistaken for a simple-minded optimistic woman, but later she proves to be much more complex about the way she sees things, which Sally Hawkins does a wonderful job in portraying.

Super Reviewer

March 21, 2010
This is not a bad movie, you kind of got to get used to it and by the time movie is over you kind of miss and enjoy Poppy played by Sally Hawkins. Its a Happy and Cheerful Movie. Sally is a School Teacher and she plays the happy Go Lucky Girl with a cheerful attitude, nothing gets her upset, someone steals her bike and she says oh well and goes and gets driving lessons, she makes friends with everyone, its a good British Film all around enjoyable. 4 Stars on this one.

Super Reviewer

February 13, 2010
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!
Stephen M

Super Reviewer

December 13, 2009
To be honest, I was expecting more from this. Happy-Go-Lucky is funny and charming and, as you'd expect from Mike Leigh, the performances are terrific, but it's pretty lightweight stuff. Even Poppy's dramatically promising discovery that one of her pupils is being abused at home turns out to be just an excuse for a game of footsie with a lantern-jawed social worker. Taking nothing away from Eddie Marsan, whose performance as Scott, Poppy's perpetually angry driving instructor, is one of the standouts, would anyone, even somebody as kind-hearted as Poppy, persevere with such an aggressive tutor for quite so long? Even harder to swallow is Poppy's naive behaviour in that strange nocturnal encounter with the Irish tramp that seems to have crept in from a different movie altogether. Treading a difficult course between kooky and annoying, Sally Hawkins is excellent, though I was never quite as enamoured with her character as I felt I was supposed to be.
Leigh R

Super Reviewer

December 14, 2009
Loved this movie. I was laughing the whole film. Great cast and Sally Hawkins will have you severely smiling as she is so magical in this part. Plus, she is too freakin' adorable to not love. HEART MELTING!!!
Bill D 2007
Bill D 2007

Super Reviewer

November 22, 2009
Mike Leigh's "Happy-Go-Lucky" plays like a good cable-TV show. It's not as silly and light as its marketing would suggest, but it's not exactly deep either. The main character is a 30-year-old single woman who teaches first grade. She has a breezy, infectious charm but also a keen awareness of life's tough side. Watching her roll with the punches of life does lift the spirits. The sequences where she shows compassion to those who've been broken by life are also nicely uplifting.

If the film had been edited better, it would have succeeded better at its modest task. Leigh as usual overdoes things. There's no excuse for a dramedy like this to be two hours long. There was 90 minutes of content here, tops. Mike Leigh does like to ramble. The excessive length may try the patience of even those most apt to like a film like this. But for the length, I would have given the film a 7.
Anthony L

Super Reviewer

October 1, 2009
Another Mike Leigh experiment gone right! It takes a real master of direction to achieve what he has. He is a master craftsman, as our his fantastic cast. I sat next to Mike Leigh on a bus going down Tottenham Court Road, I wanted to say hello but I bottled it :o(
Keysha H

Super Reviewer

September 30, 2009
She doesn't seem so Happy Go LUcky..she seemed kinda negligant and oblivious.
Jani H

Super Reviewer

June 19, 2009
Mike Leigh has been always some kind of a stranger to me. Ok, I've seen some of his work but because most of his movies are pretty much aimed at the female viewers, I've chosen to skip most of 'em. The reason why I watched 'Happy-Go-Lucky' was that at least here in Finland, Sally Hawkins performance was considered to be a contender at the Academy Awards. "Performance of the year" was said in the Finnish cinema magazines..

After the first quarter of the film, I wasn't still sure if I even like the character called Poppy. She's so over the top positive and wants to make everyone happy and so on. She does have a heart and a good attitude towards life but I'm pretty sure that I would've got a big headache if I spent a hole day with her...

The film does have some good characters. My favourite was the hobo that she met during the night. That scene also summed up what Poppy really is. Why does she have to help and please everyone? What has made her the way she is? Eddie Marsan's character, the driving instructor was also nice but again, what made him the way he was? A lot of questions was left in my head or then I guess I just wasn't consentrating that hard...

In the end, the performances in the film is the reason why this film should deserve a viewing. Not a film for me but I'm sure that 'Happy-Go-Lucky' will find its own fanbase.
Fernando Rafael Q

Super Reviewer

January 5, 2009
Thanks to Mike Leigh and Sally Hawkins for letting us witness the adventures of "Poppy", an incredible character with an average life, whose optimistic outlook on life turns any normal activity, such as taking driving lessons or getting drunk with your friends, into a fascinating worth-watching experience.

Sally Hawkins is absolutely delightful as Poppy, a British "Amélie" of some sort, equally likeable, but a lot funnier. Eddie Marsan is spectacular as the troubled driving instructor with road rage, "Scott".
Drew S

Super Reviewer

April 12, 2009
A buoyant, richly-shaded character study about being happy in a society that makes it awfully difficult. Sally Hawkins' lack of an Oscar nomination is a maddening oversight (one that could easily have been rectified by taking Angelina Jolie out of the picture); her performance here is lovable, surprisingly complex, and bottomless without being excessive. Poppy is 2008's greatest hero - if not for her enlightened, positive attitude, then for the sensible and intelligent moral choices she makes at the end of the film. (Happy-Go-Lucky has one of the definite best endings of the year, by the way.) Consummate support from the rest of the cast, especially a grumpy Eddie Marsan as her driving instructor and greatest obstacle, always gives Poppy something to do in every scene. Her dialogues with Scott, however, are the strongest sections of the movie, crackling with energy between two larger-than-life polar opposites.

This is really fantastic work. A stunning victory for Mike Leigh, one that deserved more recognition than it received.
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