Director: Mike Leigh

Cast: Sally Hawkins, Eddie Marsan 

The Buzz: Nominated in the Best Original Screenplay category

The Run: Won the Golden Globe for Best Actress (Comedy or Musical)


Let's Put A Smile On That Face!

Mike Leigh’s Happy-Go-Lucky is about a teacher. This is just about the surety that one can bring in when describing its central character, Pauline aka Poppy. Narrated in a seemingly coherent string of episodes, Happy-Go-Lucky unfolds as much as it conceals. Poppy is a character we could easily meet life – easy to ridicule and easier to pass judgments on. Sally Hawkins should have replaced Jolie in the big list.  

Mike Leigh does not give us easy answers and predictable characters. Look at how complex the character Poppy is. She is a teacher but is always seen learning things. She looks naïve but seems to know more than what shows. She is irritating to the core. Yet she seems to mean good. She tries to bring happiness in people’s lives, but not the momentarily gratifying one. God knows what she wants. But all this is not a result of bad writing, mind you. Leigh never allows anyone, neither the audience nor his own characters, to judge Poppy. The characters’ privacy is never jeopardized and they constantly dodge analysis. One is unable to even come to a conclusion like “Poppy is…” or “She likes…”. I can only repeat the strange man that Poppy seems to empathize with: “She is, she is, she is, she is, she is, she is,…. You know?”  But what is sure is that Happy-Go-Lucky is rooted firmly in contemporary reality like a very few films. And it does this without ever beating its chest out.

And then there is Eddie Marsan. This bloke should have been given one of those Oscar nods. He matches Poppy’s intensity and brings such unbridled energy into the most mundane of conversations that you start looking forward to these driving classes yourself.  The blink-and-you’ll-miss lines are all damn funny, all in the British way, but after a point seem to staged and more than spontaneous. But one thing, I would never want to meet a Poppy in my life!