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Happy Go Lucky (Mike Leigh)

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message 1: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 851 comments I really enjoyed this film and it just missed my Top Ten list. I highly recommend to everyone.

HAPPY GO LUCKY (Mike Leigh, 2008, UK) Poppy is an infectious confection, a Pollyanna who lives by the maxim: “When you look for the bad in mankind expecting to find it, you surely will”. Mike Leigh’s film is an intensely saccharin character study that boasts a sweet candy veneer obscuring (but not obliterating) the unpleasant bitterness of reality. Though Poppy is a seemingly naïve and upbeat woman almost to the point of annoyance, she is not blinded by optimism; her life is not a vapid superficial existence devoid of calories. The story balances suffering and loneliness, the long dark night of the soul, with her desire to remain insouciant, an internal struggle ripe with pathos. Poppy is spiritually centered, a self-sufficient woman who knows her emotional boundaries, who feels the touch of the void upon the lives of others…and cares. Her interaction with a mentally unbalanced homeless man is dangerous, but she desires to understand him on his own terms, to speak to him like another human being: a powerfully revealing scene reflective of her sadness because she can’t save him. And that’s the sublime beauty of Poppy: she is not an enabler; she does not strangle the world with good intentions, love doesn’t conquer all, and forgiveness must be earned. Her nemesis is Scott, her driving instructor whose presence burns slowly towards meltdown: what begins as a harmless battle of personalities turns very dark, an obsessive lust that stalks the London streets and ends in a paroxysm of epithets. And Poppy knows that she is not his savior. To love someone, they must be set free; to forgive someone, they must be held accountable. Sally Hawkin’s exceptional performance is a vibrant splash of emotions across the silver screen, a passionate tour-de-force. Poppy’s life is open-ended; Mike Leigh doesn’t spoon-feed the audience a contrived resolution, only the lovely woman rowing her boat gently down the stream. (B)


message 2: by Tom (new)

Tom | 4891 comments I agree, Alex, one of the best if not in fact The Best Film of 2008. I liked the film a great deal. It is interesting to see it as a kind of compliment to Leigh's earlier film NAKED and its hero Johnny: Poppy is almost Johnny's polar opposite, so relentlessly upbeat. There are even some similar scenes. During Poppy's scene with the incomprehensible homeless man I was reminded of Johnny's encounter with the Scots boy Andy, whose brogue is so thick it took me about 8 viewings to realize that he was speaking English at all.


message 3: by Ed (new)

Ed | 217 comments Mod
I can't wait until this comes out on dvd.


message 4: by Alex DeLarge (new)

Alex DeLarge | 851 comments It's already out on DVD in the UK if you have a region free player. I ordered it from Amazon.uk for 5 pounds and it took about a week to arrive.


message 5: by Jenny (new)

Jenny (starshinejen) Alex DeLarge wrote: "I really enjoyed this film and it just missed my Top Ten list. I highly recommend to everyone.

HAPPY GO LUCKY (Mike Leigh, 2008, UK) Poppy is an infectious confection, a Pollyanna who lives by t..."

My husband and I saw this film some time ago. Your review brought it back to life in my mind. This is an excellent film.




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