Now playing in select cinemas
Sally Hawkins plays a free-spirited school teacher named Poppy who finds a reason to laugh about almost everything, in the Mike Leigh (“Vera Drake”) directed film, “Happy Go Lucky.” The movie opens with Poppy’s bike being stolen. Here the audience gets its first taste of her inability to get angry – her reaction being “I just wish I had a chance to say goodbye.” She shrugs and smiles it off and decides to sign up for driving lessons.
There she meets her driving instructor Scott, played by Eddie Marsan. To say he’s a cynic would be an understatement. Scott was certainly not hugged enough as a child and takes his small role of authority as a driving instructor with far too much weight. He yells at Poppy for wearing high heels, laughing too much, and not taking life seriously enough.
Hawkins manages to make Poppy an incredibly charming character. Someone who finds the joy in everything – even getting their bike taken and back injured from trampoline class – could certainly come off as annoying and unrelatable. And Poppy’s happy demeanor does waver a bit with two oddly intense scenes – one with a homeless guy (which in my opinion, had no place in the movie) and with her instructor Eddie.
In the end, “Happy Go Lucky” is a mildly charming film that attempts to prove that even in the worst of situations, even when we’re in our mid-thirties still renting, dating, and at a lower-paying job, we should still be able to find happiness. That’s true but I’m still confused by the homeless guy…