Happy-go-Lucky: Give happy Poppy a chance to charm you

2009-02-22 00:00

Film: Happy-go-Lucky

Nu Metro

Happy-Go-Lucky is about Poppy (Sally Hawkins) and her indestructibly optimistic attitude.

The film is not so much a story as a study of her ordinary life in London, from her job teaching school to flamenco lessons and nights out with her girlfriends, and we discover that nothing can bring her down. Whether dealing with abused kids, tramps, or a scary road rage-prone driving instructor, Poppy comes out on top.

At first, she makes you want to tear out your hair, because anything is better than the pain of listening to her relentless Pollyanna impression and her interminable giggling. But give the movie a chance and you start to realise that there’s a lot of depth to her joy and that it’s not necessarily easy to maintain.

Hawkins does a great job in keeping Poppy from being so annoying she alienates you, yet just annoying enough that you understand why her friends get so exasperated with her.

When Poppy’s pregnant sister urges her to get on the property ladder and wants to know when she’s going to grow up, you feel that this could be the basis of a happy life: childlike joy. But the script has too light a touch to lay on thick any lessons or morals.

This quirky film’s subtlety and depth save it from Hollywood-style schlock and make it a very sweet, rather odd, study of an unusual character: a truly happy one.

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