A more upbeat movie than you might expect from Mike Leigh, yet one that finds one of Britains finest film directors still on good form. Happy-Go-Lucky
follows a primary school teacher, Poppy, played by Sally Hawkins, who has an infectious, positive manner about her. Shes the shining core of the film, an upbeat, happy, yet absolutely three dimensional character.
Poppys nature is, inevitably, somewhat tested in Happy-Go-Lucky, not least by driving instructor Scott. Superbly played by Eddie Marsan, its fair to say that Scott doesnt share Poppys positivity, yet once more, hes a frighteningly real character, and at times extremely unsettling to watch.
There are layers to Happy-Go-Lucky, with plenty bubbling on under the surface, yet that theres no escaping the fact that it is a cheerier movie than Leigh usually delivers. Its fuelled particularly by Sally Hawkins, who is quite brilliant in the central role, and its potentially a career-making performance from her.
Yet, once again, the hidden star of Happy-Go-Lucky is Mike Leigh himself, who has shaped an often very funny film, but not one without some gravitas to it. The man remains a national treasure, and Happy-Go-Lucky is but the latest reason why. An easy film to recommend. --Jon Foster