The jolly Poppy: ‘Happy-Go-Lucky’ (2008)

Mike Leigh’s Happy-Go-Lucky stars Sally Hawkins as the silly and tender-hearted Poppy, a thirty-year old elementary school teacher. She giggles at everything, including pain, and can be both obnoxious and charming. This optimism makes her incredibly brave. She is the type of person who says “yes” to life, comforting her angry students and approaching homeless men in the middle of the night. Poppy has a few wonderful friends, particularly her housemate, who are on the same wavelength as she is, but a number of people say that her attitude is dangerous and immature.

One of these people is her driving instructor Scott (Eddie Marsan). Their initially funny relationship plays off of their starkly contrasting personalities before turning into something darker. Though the descriptions of Happy-Go-Lucky suggest a lighthearted romantic comedy, it is instead a theatrical slice of life, Mike Leigh style, and includes some disturbing elements. The piece is not a gripping thriller, but it is a generally pleasant and memorable way to spend a couple of hours.