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Happy-Go-Lucky (2008)

Sally Hawkins , Alexis Zegerman , Mike Leigh  |  R |  DVD
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)

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Happy-Go-Lucky Happy-Go-Lucky 3.5 out of 5 stars (95)
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Product Details

  • Actors: Sally Hawkins, Alexis Zegerman, Samuel Roukin, Elliot Cowan, Andrea Riseborough
  • Directors: Mike Leigh
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: MIRAMAX
  • DVD Release Date: March 10, 2009
  • Run Time: 118 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (95 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001N26GFC
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #174,995 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Happy-Go-Lucky" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Academy Award nominee Mike Leigh (Best Director and Best Original Screenplay, Vera Drake, 2004), delivers the delightfully fresh and cheerful comedy Happy-Go-Lucky. Free-spirited and effervescent, Poppy is a schoolteacher whose unstoppable optimism guides her life. Bubbling forth with giggles, laughter and jokes, life's a bowl of cherries even when she comes across a few pits. Whether it's a cranky driving teacher or a fiery flamenco instructor, Poppy embraces life on the sunny side of the street. It's a joyous, feel-good film you'll find irresistible. Bonus features include: Behind the Wheel of Happy-Go-Lucky, Happy-In-Character, audio commentary by Director Mike Leigh

Mike Leigh has made a career out of unusual films--who else would make a biopic about Gilbert & Sullivan?--but Happy-Go-Lucky may be his most unusual yet: A movie about a woman who is almost compulsively cheerful. Poppy (Sally Hawkins, star of the 2007 miniseries of Persuasion) may at first seem like the most annoying human being alive. She can't help but try to get a smile from someone who's ignoring her. When her bicycle gets stolen, she shrugs it off and decides to learn how to drive, which leads her to form a strange sparring relationship with her frustrated driving instructor, Scott (Eddie Marsan). Meanwhile, she takes flamenco lessons, visits with her squabbling family, tries to help a troubled boy at the school where she teaches, and encounters a homeless man--but this bland catalogue of events doesn't capture how Poppy's relentless optimism acts as a rorschach test to the people around her, reflecting back their worst or best feelings about themselves. Poppy, whose natural impulse is to empathize, discovers she needs to draw boundaries between herself and a world that wants to interpret her cheerfulness in unintended ways. The result is a unique movie experience, one that defies conventional notions of what's dramatic yet grows more absorbing with every moment. Just as it's hard to imagine anyone liking Poppy at the start of Happy-Go-Lucky, it's hard to imagine that anyone doesn't care about her by the movie's end. --Bret Fetzer

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Plot, Good; Character Study, Great February 3, 2009
This is all about Poppy, played by Sally Hawkins. Single in London. Positive, cheerful, and generally embodies the title of the movie. Every situation is to be faced with good spirit, a light attitude, and cheer.

At the beginning it seems that she will overrun a challenge like a tank running over a building in a WW II flick. Smiles. Banter. Humor. Irrepressible. Even when alone.

The challenges grow. A problem student. A vagrant in a deserted part of town. A doctor visit. A dance instructor with issues.

And then the new champion for Driving Instructor From Satan, played by Eddie Marsan. These scenes are classics. As in many movies confrontation is important to good comedy or drama. The theater I saw this in was laughing its collective heads off. The driving lessons make me smile even as I type this.

How Poppy reacts to each challenge - and how others react to Poppy - is the core of this movie. The plot is mostly a string of episodes. Mike Leigh does an outstanding job directing, finding a second level to each situation. Funny and happy. But also thoughtful and a little gritty.

Sally Hawkins should be up for an Oscar in 2009, but that is a whole other discussion.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You may love it - you may not April 20, 2009
Happy-Go-Lucky stars Sally Hawkins as Poppy, a 30 year old London elementary school teacher who is so cheerful she makes Pollyanna look like Eeyore.

The film doesn't follow any Hollywood formula, so here is fair advance warning. You may not like "Happy-Go-Lucky" if:
1. You dislike "British Humor".
2. You have difficulty following non-American English.
3. You dislike films without a definite or obvious "plot".

There is a decidedly British genre that I would loosely describe as "get a handful of interesting characters together and follow them a few days". (I recently watched "The Station Agent" and although the characters and setting were different, it shares this genre.)

Poppy isn't just cheerful. She finds almost any situation a suitable one for a joke and a laugh. In the opening she rides her bicycle to a bookstore where she tries unsuccessfully to get the attention of the bearded young man who works there. She goes outside to discover her bicycle has been stolen. She is disappointed and says "I didn't even get to say good-bye!"

The stolen bike leads Poppy to decide to take driving lessons. She hires the increasingly serious and severely humorless Scott, played by Eddie Marsan. Some of the funniest scenes in the film and certainly the most serious one take place during Poppy's driving lessons.

Poppy has shared a flat with Zoe for ten years, and she has two younger sisters who don't share her irrepressible cheery disposition.

I could give you the entire "plot" and although I wouldn't be giving you many "spoilers", I also wouldn't be giving you much encouragement to watch the movie.

The Mrs. and I laughed out loud several times. Go back to my short list of disqualifiers. If you're NOT disqualified, you might like it.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You Won't Need Therapy For Awhile August 22, 2010
Watch this movie and think to yourself, "Who am I MOST like?" Poppy, the main character, or Scott (the driving instrutor)? Which one can you identify with the most? Now...Which one do you NOT want to be like? Or to become?

The main character if FULL OF JOY for living. What is the point of life if there is NO JOY??? Honestly, I keep reading these negative reviews and they're so superficial. Forgive me, but that's how I feel. Every scene and every character has a reason for being the way it is. Trust me on this one. Just open your minds. Please. And remember's a M O V I E. Seriously. Some people need to lighten up and drop the BS. Mike Leigh wrote and directed one of his best films here, and all some people can say is, "The main character is so annoying". Wow. How sad. Once you have THAT in your head, the rest of the movie will not make any sense. Word.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hyperactive happiness is put to the test October 4, 2008
HAPPY-GO-LUCKY is one of those quirky British films that won't be remembered as one of the best you've ever seen, but is worth a look and four stars because, as I said to my wife after our advance screening, it "has its 5-star moments".

The protagonist is Poppy (Sally Hawkins), a frenetically happy, 30-year old, primary school teacher living in London's northern reaches with her roommate Zoe (Alexis Zegerman). Poppy's good humor is so inexorable that, while it serves her well with her young charges, it often abrades the patience of adults. Only Zoe is imperturbable.

As with other films of the genre (Local Hero, The Full Monty, Calendar Girls, Waking Ned Devine), the plot revolves not so much around events as the personalities and eccentricities of the players.

The single best overall performance is perhaps that by Eddie Marsan as the scarily intense Scott, Poppy's driving instructor, whose deep-seated, smoldering anger at the world reflects a tightly wound mental state 180 degrees opposite that of his student. Confined together in the small space of Scott's car, an explosion seems always but a hair-trigger's pull away.

Definitely, the single best scene, the one that had the audience in stitches, is played by Karina Fernandez as a Flamenco teacher, when she attempts to describe to and inculcate in her class of adult students the passion necessary for the dance. Talk about meltdown!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars "Poppy" is definitely annoying in her complete optimism but she does...
Mike Leigh has written a lovely film with elements of both light and dark. The protagonist, "Poppy" is definitely annoying in her complete optimism but she does rise to the... Read more
Published 15 days ago by Allison V. Fine
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
charming lovely
Published 1 month ago by armandcat
5.0 out of 5 stars Fell in love with Sally Hawkins after seeing this one
Fell in love with Sally Hawkins after seeing this one. She's everything I'm not -- optimistic, dynamic, and trusting. A smash from Mike Leigh, who has never made a bad movie. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Kenneth M. Steele
5.0 out of 5 stars happy go lucky
great movie
Published 3 months ago by Gloria F.
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Light fun!
Published 3 months ago by Niki T
4.0 out of 5 stars Quirky sweet film with heart
Funny, sweet, a good message. Love Sally Hawkins, thought-provoking. Being happy isn't abt having a perfect life. It's abt what you do with the one you have. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Gina Marie Di Dio
3.0 out of 5 stars This Is Not A Love Story
Happy-Go-Lucky is not a romantic comedy. Which is good because I hate romantic comedies.

It's not even a comedy. It's not funny. Really. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Ethan Barbee
3.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful and Cute
The movie was cute and thoughtful but slow at times. I wish there was more focus on the driving instructor and bully student outcomes. Left me wondering what happened.
Published 8 months ago by Kelly Kathleen Anderson
5.0 out of 5 stars Great transfer.
Not sure why this disc isn't available in US region alone, but this German made disc (it plays here) is excellent. Read more
Published 8 months ago by sarah starlight
5.0 out of 5 stars It's one of my all-time favorites
A lovely film which both entertains and challenges. The main character is a kind of delightful, accessible role model, both in demeanor and in character. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Catherine Flowers
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Topic From this Discussion
Hi!, does this dvd comes with "english for hearing impaired"? Help!
This DVD (Happy go lucky) has English subtitles. Maybe you can get it from your local library (like I did).
May 16, 2009 by Vicki |  See all 3 posts
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