Cast: Sally Hawkins
Director: Mike Leigh
It's unlikely you would have met someone as good-natured, optimistic and cheerful as Poppy, the protagonist of Happy-Go-Lucky, this wonderful British film by Mike Leigh that I'd like to tell you about today.
Sally Hawkins plays Poppy, a North London kindergarten teacher who's got to be the most uncomplicated character you've ever met. She's just turned 30, she shares a rented flat with her best friend, she goes clubbing with her mates, the kids at school love her, as does her younger sister. She has a bunny-hop walk, a sing-song voice, she dresses in layers of new-age hippy clothes, and she's just the nicest, happiest girl ever.
Now the fact that Poppy's eternal optimism and all-round cheerfulness doesn't ever get annoying is testimony to the fact that Sally Hawkins is a very fine actor who gives depth to her character. Her childlike enthusiasm makes it impossible not to like her.
But it's also true that you keep waiting for something bad to happen. You know some secret tragedy is going to be revealed. You're probably going to discover she has some fatal illness. I mean, what other excuse does she have for being so upbeat all the time? Well, truth is, nothing happens.
Okay, to be honest, she does have an uneasy encounter with her driving instructor, but she even gets out of that with courage and tact. You're probably wondering what's so great about this film -- well let me tell you -- it's a film that's so hopeful, some of its optimism actually rubs off on you while you're watching it. There's a lovely scene in the film which pretty much sums up the personality of its protagonist and the attitude of the film too. It's a scene towards the end of the film in which Poppy's flatmate Zoe tells her, "You know you can't make everyone happy all the time," to which she replies, "Yeah, but there's no harm in trying."
Do yourself a favour, go find a DVD of Happy-Go-Lucky, it's a warm and endearing film that'll leave you smiling from ear to ear.
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