HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Cup of Cheer
Lost at Christmas
Super Robot Mach Baron
Battle of Jangsari, The
Crock of Gold: A Few Rounds with Shane MacGowan
Safe Spaces
Stanford Prison Experiment, The
Assassination in Rome
Castle Freak
Pinocchio
Brother Bear
Raiders of Buddhist Kung Fu
County Lines
Polytechnique
We Have Always Lived in the Castle
Covert Action
Strangler's Web
Host
Nimic
House of Bamboo
Murder Me, Monster
Hell and High Water
Possessor
Flint
Miserables, Les
Ritz, The
Patrick
Cemetery
Girls of the Sun
Princess and the Goblin, The
Skyfire
Upright
Incredible Kung Fu Mission
Dirty Cops
You Cannot Kill David Arquette
Leap of Faith: William Friedkin on The Exorcist
Son's Room, The
Evil Hits Evil
Agency
Blue My Mind
   
 
Newest Articles
Newley Minted: The Strange World of Gurney Slade on Blu-ray
Bad Love: The Night Porter on Blu-ray
Brevity is the Soul of Weird: Short Sharp Shocks on Blu-ray
Get Your Ass to Mars: Total Recall on Blu-ray
Call the Professionals: Le Cercle Rouge on Blu-ray
When There's No More Room in Hell: Dawn of the Dead on Blu-ray
The Butterfly Effect: Mothra on Blu-ray
Living Room Theatre: Play for Today Volume 1 on Blu-ray
Didn't He Do Well: The Bruce Forsyth Show on DVD
Blood Wedding: The Bride with White Hair on Blu-ray
The Inhuman Element: The Ladykillers on 4K UHD
As You Like It, Baby: Breathless on Blu-ray
Stargazing: Light Entertainment Rarities on DVD
Down to the Welles: Orson Welles Great Mysteries Volume 2 on DVD
Herding Cats: Sleepwalkers on Blu-ray
Confessions of a Porn Star: Adult Material on DVD
They're Still Not Sure It is a Baby: Eraserhead on Blu-ray
Werewolves are Real: Dog Soldiers on Digital
Rose: A Love Story - Producers April Kelley and Sara Huxley Interview
Phone Phreak: 976-EVIL on Blu-ray
Living the Nightmare: Dementia on Blu-ray
Becky and The Devil to Pay: Ruckus and Lane Skye Interview
Big Top Bloodbath: Circus of Horrors on Blu-ray
A Knock on the Door at 4 O'clock in the Morning: The Strangers on Blu-ray
Wives of the Skies: Honey Lauren Interview
   
 
  Happy-Go-Lucky Anti-Hate
Year: 2008
Director: Mike Leigh
Stars: Sally Hawkins, Eddie Marsan, Alexis Zegerman, Sylvestra Le Touzel, Kate O'Flynn, Nonso Anozie, Stanley Townsend, Caroline Martin, Oliver Maltman, Karina Fernandez, Sarah Niles, Andrea Riseborough, Sinead Matthews, Samuel Roukin
Genre: Comedy, DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: Poppy (Sally Hawkins) is happy-go-lucky to the hilt, and it's being so cheerful that keeps her going. Today she is going on a shopping trip to wander around the stores, and she has taken her bicycle which he props up next to a fence and locks, then goes to a bookstore where she attempts to engage the shopkeeper in conversation, but he is having none of this and refuses to speak to her. This does not dent her disposition, and even when she returns to her bike to discover it has been stolen she's not too upset, only lamenting that she didn't get the chance to say goodbye. Still, it does offer her the excuse to get those driving lessons she's been planning for a while...

Mike Leigh was apparently well known for his miserabilist films, or that's the reputation he thought he had in spite of the amount of genuine laughter many of his works provoked, so Happy-Go-Lucky was inspired by his desire to make a film that featured an upbeat character instead of someone desperate and dejected. He certainly succeeded in that, but for some reason the reaction many viewers had was to be turned off by Poppy, who drove them up the wall with her relentlessly sunny attitude to life. Yet this would appear to have been the point, as it's not as if everyone else in this reacted to her in a positive manner - indeed, as the ending showed there are those who can have a very bad response.

So what could have been lightweight fluff is deepened by the question that Poppy has to face: how can you continue to be happy when there are so many other people out there who are suffering? The answer is that if she didn't laugh she'd cry, an old cliché which proves to be true, as the darker characters here prefer to wallow in their bleak thoughts as if in some way they think they're being more realistic in their worldview. This is encapsulated in the personality of Scott (Eddie Marsan), who is Poppy's driving instructor and almost pathologically bad tempered, with a conspiracy bent to his thinking which puts him at odds with the unending jokiness of his new pupil. We can tell they will clash sooner or later.

But it's not only Scott who is set against Poppy's outlook, as time and again she encounters those who fail to see the bright side as a matter of course, such as her sister Suzy (Kate O'Flynn), a criminal law student and all round grump, or more seriously the little boy in Poppy's class - she is a primary school teacher - who is being abused by his mother's boyfriend and taking out his frustrations on his fellow classmates. So you see, there's plenty of light and shade in what some misinterpreted as a manifesto of the "cheer up, might never happen" brigade. At the heart of this is an expert performance from Hawkins that is not half as irritating as her detractors would have you believe, showing great skill in fleshing out someone who threatened to be sitcom two-dimensional.

There is nevertheless an episodic mood to the film which throws in characters such as the tramp (Stanley Townsend) Poppy meets while out on a late night stroll who seems to have wandered in from Leigh's nineties effort Naked, a sequence which feels out of place. She does go some way to proving that it's nice to be nice, another cliché that almost falls apart under the scrutiny of those like Scott who sees the dark arts at every turn, and cannot understand that not everything in life has been sent to test him to the limits of his mental endurance. Thankfully, Poppy does not suffer a massive tragedy that knocks the good humour out of her, that would have been too contrived, and the message is that she might actually have the right idea in taking her existence on a don't worry be happy level. Another cliché there, but Leigh and his excellent cast make something worthwhile out of them. Music by Gary Yershon.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2394 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Enoch Sneed
Darren Jones
Paul Smith
  Lee Fiveash
  Mick Stewart
  Dsfgsdfg Dsgdsgsdg
   

 

Last Updated: