Monday, May 11, 2009
Happy Go Lucky
MUST-SEE: (Mike Leigh) Golden Globe winner, Sally Hawkins stars as Poppy, a lively, optimistic Brit, enjoying every drop of life, good or bad, in Mike Leigh's latest vignette. An illustration of taking everything in stride, Happy Go Lucky is a glimpse into Poppy's day-to-day, exuding someone with everything the title promises. Often irritating to others, Poppy's uncanny ability to take light of any and everything inevitably leaves you (and those others) with a smile. Knowing full well that in real life, Poppy would 100% drive me nuts, I couldn't help but enjoy watching her on-screen, and secretly envying that positivity. Facing all of the same strife for women her age (will she ever marry, will she get to have kids, is she making an influence on her children's lives, etc., etc.), she manages to keep her focus on the good, truly living life in the moment, with no regrets and no need for second chances. Already 30 years old and still living single with her best friend, Poppy is absolutely satisfied with the present. A successful and dedicated schoolteacher and a member of a doting group of fantastic friends, she looks no farther for greater expectations. Even when her bike is stolen, her biggest woe is that she didn't get to give it a proper goodbye--she "tsks" for a moment, double-checking for it around the corner, but then merrily hops on the bus home, where she decides she'll just take driving lessons because she needed to learn that anyway. But not only does she lose her bicycle, but she is stalked and berated by a creepy driving instructor--a truly wonderful performance by Eddie Marsan and the absolute best scenes of the film (i.e. clashing stringent anger with bubbly cheer in high-heeled boots creates phenomenal suspense for these tiny scenes--erratic emotion and diverse humor pair Hawkins and Marsan's student-teacher relationship as uncanny opposites relating in the subtlest of ways). Poppy reminds us (no matter how unrealistic) that life is short and meant to be enjoyed. Laughing at hardship and taking light what is otherwise dreary makes for much more fun and much less worry. From my own intolerance for such a cheery creature at the beginning of the film was, in fact, the root of my ease by the end. Writer/Director Leigh truly captures through Poppy what we all envy, fluidly and effortlessly, using dialogue and laughter to create strong tonal quality. This film is an easy watch--a true feel-good flick. You're guaranteed to let her get to you by the end, inevitably smiling and laughing, with a renewed sense of positive flair. Enjoy!