In a poor working class London home Penny's love for her partner, taxi-driver Phil, has run dry, but when an unexpected tragedy occurs, they and their local community are brought together, and they rediscover their love.
Slice-of-life look at a sweet working-class couple in London, Shirley and Cyril, his mother, who's aging quickly and becoming forgetful, mum's ghastly upper-middle-class neighbors, and ... See full summary »
Poppy Cross is happy-go-lucky. At 30, she lives in Camden: cheeky, playful, frank while funny, and talkative to strangers. She's a conscientious and exuberant primary-school teacher, flatmates with Zoe, her long-time friend; she's close to one sister, and not so close to another. In this slice of life story, we watch her take driving lessons from Scott, a dour and tightly-wound instructor, take classes in flamenco dance from a fiery Spaniard, encounter a tramp in the night, and sort out a student's aggressive behavior with a social worker's help. Along the way, we wonder if her open attitude puts her at risk of misunderstanding or worse. What is the root of happiness? Written by
During preparation for the film, Sally Hawkins stayed in character of Poppy and took her to the streets of London. See more »
In the build up to the final (aborted) driving lesson Scott (Eddie Marsan) is seen turning right into Holloway road (half way up and heading north), then moments later they are seen navigating the Highbury and Islington roundabout, turning into again into Holloway road about half a mile south of the previous location. See more »
[pulls out book from shelf]
The Road to Reality...
[smiles and pushes the book back]
Don't wanna be going there!
See more »
"Insufferable," is what my roommate said as we left Mike Leigh's new film Happy-Go-Lucky. Funny: the word that kept popping up in my head throughout was, "Unbearable." I guess we were both right.
I had just finished reading Truman Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's and patently was in the mood for something that possessed such easy levity. Happy-Go-Lucky seemed just right. What I would later learnabout five minutes into Happyis that the film is far closer in tone, concept, and subject matter to the opening pages of The Berenstain Bears Learn About Strangers in which an extroverted Sister Bear can't quite grasp the concept that the rest of the world isn't nearly as nice as she, and that whether she knows or not or cares or not, there are indeed bad people in the world who are not immediately her friends.
And this seems to be the sameand onlyproblem with which the main character of Happy must contend. Played with hyperbolic espiegle that makes you want to slap her in the face on more than one occasion, relative novice Sally Hawkins is Poppy, a 30-year-old primary school teacher who can't stop smiling, giggling idiotically, and talking to everyone around her no matter if theyor wereally want to hear her or not.
The film opens with Poppy popping poppedly into a staid bookstore. Even though she tells the lone worker in the store that she's glad to be inside from the crazy chaos of the city, the worker wants yet more serene silence than she, choosing to elide her comments until she finally, after about ten minutes of non-stop yammering, gets the point that someone like she probably belongs out in the noisy world that doesn't seem to stop or shut up.
It's all pretty much downhill from there, as we see Poppy dance lithely around the world in her obnoxious go-go boots that even her pugilistic, racist, Christian fundamentalist driving instructor chastises her about time and time again as being inappropriate both for driving and for mature adulthood in general. He may have a point, but it's the jabbing and insistent force of said point that earns the driver, an absolutely irritating Eddie Marsen, one of the high marks that led us to leaving about 20 minutes early from this stinker. This becomes the main crux of the film that, literally up until we leftat a good hour or more into the picturehad no kind of discernible conflict whatsoever aside from the obnoxiously swelling score that makes one dizzy and overwhelmed with nausea. Each scene gives us another long and droning glimpse into the life of this gelastic clown who has decided that there's no need to either grow up or to leave alone people who already have. She's either fascistically and maniacally doing all she can to get a smile out of everyone around her, no matter if they want to, or she's externalizing some superficial, self-righteous sense of ever-more-playful sympathy for people who deserve, if nothing else, far less.
The most offensive moment of such gratuitous compassion is when Poppy, as though she were some kind of bubble-headed progressive college kid or, again, Sister Bear, decides to follow the sounds of a raving derelict deep into the industrial wasteland under a bridge where she finds said derelict sitting filthily amidst some trash. Rather than running for her lifeit's England, a large city, late at night in the middle of nowhere, after allPoppy takes to speaking with the mumbling chap, admitting that, yes, she does "know" as he asks her over and over again with stereotypical bum-like repetition: "Y'know, y'know, y'know?"
What is supposed to, I suppose, play as one scene of earnest modern life and bring a modicum of "reality" to this ridiculous jaunt of a film, really just made me not only sigh with disgust but also with some indignation. What is Leigh trying to insinuate here? What is he teaching young girls in England and the Western World over? That this kind of behavior is safe? Bold? Compassionate? Oy vey. Natural Born Killers and A Clockwork Orange can be castigated fortee heeresulting in copycat crimes, but Mike Leigh can go around telling beautiful young women that it's all right to go and talk to bums under bridges? Bah!
A similar situation grants us Poppy dealing with an abusive, redheaded scamp of a pint-sized bully in her class who can't stop hitting the other students around him. Once again, Poppy and Leigh take the moral highroad herecirca 1992and decide to feel bad for the kid, to show us that Poppy really just wants to be the student's "mate" more than anything else, lamenting to her roommate upon first realizing the problem, "Poor kid." No concern of the victims of the bully, of the other students in her class. It seems that the worst someone isa raving derelict, a pint-sized bully, an obnoxiously irate driving instructorthe more he is subject of either affection or harmless laughter in Poppy's world and Leigh's shallow film.
Already nudging me at after the first hour of Poppy's adventures through playland, my roommate had had enough and I was almost right there with him, opting to wait until there was at least some sort of conflict before finally giving up. A social worker that Poppy meets and with whom she's more than likely going to see on a less professional visit next time led me to believe maybe someone would finally give her that slap she so desperately deserved but, no the next scene gives us a an entirely new plot line involving a pregnant relative, and this is when I realized it at last: time to pop out once and for all.
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