I am a big fan of director Mike Leigh. Secrets & Lies, Vera Drake, and the little seen All or Nothing are all great films. I haven’t gone back to catch up on his earlier work, but I’ll pretty much see anything he does without needing to know anything else about the film.

Happy-Go-Lucky is not a typical Mike Leigh film in some ways. Well, one way, anyway. The main character is, in fact, happy. While Leigh seems happy enough in interviews, his films generally are not. But Poppy (the criminally not Oscar-nominated Sally Hawkins) is not just happy, she’s happy in situations that would put most people into a seriously sour mood. Some reviewers find her character grating, but she felt very real (though unusual) to me.

Poppy is a elementary school teacher, and we see her both at work and in other parts of her life. I won’t say much more, except that Eddie Marsan, who plays her driving instructor, was also criminally overlooked for a supporting actor Oscar nomination. At least the film picked up a nomination for original screenplay, though I would guess it’s a long shot.

I haven’t reviewed the list of everything I saw in 2008 yet, but I would guess that this would be my number one film of the year. See it. I give it 4 stars out of 4 stars, of course.

Seen 11/2/2008.


One Response to “Happy-Go-Lucky

  1. newman Says:

    love Mike Leigh to, great observer of real dialoguie as it were


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