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  • Comedy, Drama, Realism , produced in 2008 UK
  • Actors: Sally Hawkins, Eddie Marsan
  • Directed by: Mike Leigh
  • Rating: 7.20 out of 10 (1734 votes)
  • Plot Summary: In a shift away from his usual exploration of the dark and dreary, director Mike Leigh (VERA DRAKE) takes a lighter look at life with HAPPY-GO-LUCKY. The film chronicles the daily comings and goings of 30-year-old Poppy, whose positive, easy-going outlook epitomizes the title. Poppy is a primary school teacher, who lives in London with her best friend Zoe (Alexis Zegerman). We follow Poppy through her daily routines--going clubbing with her friends, preparing exercises for her class, going to the chiropractor, and taking flamenco lessons. Nothing truly remarkable happens to Poppy, and yet, her boundless good cheer and childlike delight make her smallest endeavors incredibly engaging. Poppy's smile is put to the ultimate test after she decides to take driving lessons, and is assigned to Scott (Eddie Marsan). Scott is a paranoid, rage-filled instructor who verbally abuses her throughout her lessons. Poppy continues to see him, week after week, despite his escalating tantrums. Meanwhile, at work, a young student has been acting out in class, and Poppy must call in a very handsome social worker for assistance. She and the social worker eventually go on a date, which ends up becoming a catalyst for her driving instructor's climactic meltdown and confrontation with Poppy.

    The film is a fascinating character study, and Hawkins is excellent as Poppy, striking just the right chord of cheerful without coming off as shrill or obnoxious. It also offers a refreshingly upbeat and realistic look at life for the 30-something urban woman. Poppy lives her life to the fullest--in the real world--without any clichéd SEX AND THE CITY hangups. HAPPY-GO-LUCKY is whip-smart and full of surprises--just when you are certain the story is going to veer in a certain direction, Leigh gently nudges you down a different path. And you are glad of it.
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