Happy Go Lucky

This film is unusual because it is more of a character essay than a traditional story.

Were it not that it’s director is none other than Mike Leigh, Happy Go Lucky may never have seen the light of day. But on a recent Friday night, the cinema in Santa Monica had a full house. Perhaps because actress Sally Hawkins won a Silver Bear at the Berlin Film Festival for her role.

Known for his work with actors rather than for his plot structure, Leigh gives us Poppy (Sally Hawkins), an elementary school teacher with a nervous laugh. A British Amelie of sorts, Poppy wants to be happy – all the time.

She rarely has a down moment or even a quiet one, until one of her young students admits that his mother’s boyfriend hits him.

Even then Poppy tries to convince herself that everything will be soon alright. Best of all, Tim (Samuel Roukin), the social worker involved in the case, likes her and she likes him and eventually they, and Poppy’s nervous laugh, go out on a date. From walking down a dark alley and talking to a homeless old man to casual sex with the cute social worker, Poppy lives for the moment, laughing as she goes.

Painting all moments with the same teasing brush finally gives Poppy a reality check when her driver’s ed teacher Scott (Eddie Marsan), who has his own fair share of issues, explodes after seeing her with Tim for the first time.

It’s the moment we’ve waited almost two hours for – when the world finally kicks off some of Poppy’s sugar coating and reveals the flip side, promptly dealt with and brushed aside by Poppy, determined to laugh her way through.

Release Date: 04/18/08 UK
Genre: Comedy/Drama
Runtime: 1hr. 58 min.
Director: Mike Leigh
Cast: Sally Hawkins, Eddie Marsan, Alexis Zegerman
Rating R: language
Stars: not rated.

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