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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.
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.
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 this...it'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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
SALLY HAWKINS IS MESMERIZING FROM BEGINING TO END. SHE'S REAL, SHE SEES THE
BRIGHT SIDE, SHE HOILDS YOU. A WISH: MORE HAPPY SALLYS IN THIS WORLD. SHE'S REAL.
This can be marked as received. I got it a few days ago and I am very pleased.
I wish Amazon would mark this damn thing as delivered!
This is one of my favorite movies. Sally Hawkins stars as Poppy, an eternally happy soul who seems to flit through life on a different plane than most. Read morePublished 6 months ago by AFox
I found the character a bit annoying and as many of Leigh's films could use some editing. A good story though and fine performances overall.Published 6 months ago by Fresh Pie
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