Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Happy Go Lucky (Mike Leigh, 2008) [5]

I guess there are two ways to look at Happy Go Lucky. One would be to look at the film and its main character, Poppy, as a refreshing breath of cheerful optimism in a world overrun with dour, depressing news. The other way, in which I see the film, is that Poppy is such a grating character that it overrides any other feelings I have about the film. Her constant jabbering and bubbly persona aren't quite my favorite qualities in people or characters. My unlike for her hangs over everything that it's all that remains after the film is over. It's a bit of a shame because Sally Hawkins really does a great job, and her character is a nuanced character, not just a one-dimensional chatterbox that my earlier statements make it sound like. The other issue that plagues the film is Leigh rigs the film to create a conflict of characters. As Poppy is cheerful and talkative, Scott the driving instructor is dark, conspiratorial, and prone to fits of range. He role as a right-wing fanatical nut job who misunderstands the entirety of his relationship with Poppy is the crux of the film. I find it too highly contrived and constructed to meet the purpose it does. Again, it's a shame because there are plenty of moments where Leigh takes his time to examine these characters' lives. It those quieter moments, in that they don't revolve around Poppy and Scott's conversations, that work best. They just aren't enough to make the film any more tolerable for me.

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