IMDb > Happy-Go-Lucky (2008) > Reviews & Ratings - IMDb
Top Links
trailers and videosfull cast and crewtriviaofficial sitesmemorable quotes
main detailscombined detailsfull cast and crewcompany credits
Awards & Reviews
user reviewsexternal reviewsawardsuser ratingsparents guide
Plot & Quotes
plot summarysynopsisplot keywordsmemorable quotes
Did You Know?
triviagoofssoundtrack listingcrazy creditsalternate versionsmovie connectionsFAQ
Other Info
box office/businessrelease datesfilming locationstechnical specsliterature listingsNewsDesk
taglines trailers and videos posters photo gallery
External Links
showtimesofficial sitesmiscellaneousphotographssound clipsvideo clips

Reviews & Ratings for
Happy-Go-Lucky More at IMDbPro »

Write review
Filter: Hide Spoilers:
Page 1 of 20:[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [Next]
Index 200 reviews in total 

205 out of 250 people found the following review useful:

A cheerful film with an underlying vein of tragedy

Author: (lexo1770) from Ireland
1 May 2008

Happy-Go-Lucky has been reviewed in the British press as a relatively lightweight Mike Leigh movie, but I'm not so sure. The story revolves around Sally Hawkins' remarkable performance as primary school teacher Poppy Cross, a highly unusual character in that Hawkins and Leigh between them manage to make her consistently cheerful and optimistic without being either naive or irritating. Poppy is presented as both relentlessly cheery and, on another level, remarkably intuitive; throughout the film, she has a series of encounters with troubled male figures (a boy in her class who has started bullying, a very strange homeless Irishman and, above all, her phenomenally uptight driving instructor Scott) and in all of them, Poppy's liveliness and friendly curiosity about other people is seen to be a powerful counter to male self-pity, anger and despair.

Hawkins' character is not someone who is inclined to let life get her down, so it's just as well that she is surrounded by people with a somewhat more sardonic or downbeat take on reality. Her flatmate Zoe (Alexis Zegerman, very good) is a wonderfully dry and sarky counter to Poppy's enthusiasm, although the affection between them is palpable. Poppy's younger sisters Suzy and Helen are also quite different; Suzy is a law student who is more interested in clubbing, drinking and playing with her brother-in-law's Playstation than in criminal justice, while Helen is heavily pregnant, obsessed with acquiring the trappings of a respectable suburban life and unable to understand how her older sister can be so happy living in a rented flat and not stepping onto the property ladder.

The big surprise for me is that I had been led to believe that this is a more or less straightforward feelgood film. It isn't. Scott, Poppy's driving teacher (Eddie Marsan), is the most affecting character in it, and one of the greatest and most unforgettable characters in Leigh's oeuvre. Most of the reviews I've read of the film depict Scott as a hateful, sinister or otherwise despicable character, but although it's true that he is an uptight, judgmental, angry bigot, it is also perfectly clear from his first appearance that he doesn't know what he's talking about and that he is driven by emotional problems that he hasn't even begun to get a handle on. Marsan's extraordinary performance is one of the best things I've seen on film for a long time. Scott has been afflicted with very bad teeth and a mild speech defect (he can't really say the letter 'r') and although his inner anger and bigotry is played for laughs for a lot of the film, in the end it is allowed to blossom forth in a riveting scene where his fury, jealousy and terror of his own darkness spill forth in a heartbreaking and riveting torrent. If part of the point of art is to help us to understand people we would otherwise have little sympathy with, then this film is a work of art. I've never seen Marsan before but he deserves awards for this movie, no question.

Happy-Go-Lucky is a highly enjoyable and often very funny film, but it also carries terrible sadness. I have never been a massive fan of Mike Leigh, but lately I have to admit that I was wrong. He just seems to get better and better.

Was the above review useful to you?

120 out of 162 people found the following review useful:

Wisdom, not naivety

Author: DaSchaust from Germany
12 July 2008

Having read some critiques to the extent that this was a film about a naive, childish woman who refused to take life seriously, I was hesitant whether I'd be able to bear this movie.

Luckily, it turned out to be one of the most entertaining cinema experiences since quite a long time.

Poppy isn't the person refusing to become an adult which her misanthropic driving instructor Scott accuses her to be. Our time indeed seems to bring about such people but they could hardly be more different than this lovely young woman. The first scene, with the girls drunk and chatting nonsense, is perhaps a bit misleading on this issue. (In fact, several people left the cinema during this scene, seemingly annoyed of all the giggling.) Rather, Poppy is wise and strong, trying to see the positive in everyone and everything. Humour, and sometimes benign derision, are her ways of keeping sulkiness out of her life. But, as everyone with a heart should feel, that is a gift, not a deficit. What damage can it cause to have a nice word or a smile for your fellow humans? On the other hand, she doesn't shut her eyes on the sad sides of life, such as a traumatized homeless man or a boy beaten by his mother's new partner, and one understands that she is deeply sad about not being able to help Scott, even if she would have had every reason to simply hate him for his bad temper, his racism and his stalking.

The director has done a superb job with this production; it is packed with intelligent, witty dialogs and convincingly drawn characters.

Our world needs a lot more people like Poppy, or at least -- if they don't possess her strength and optimism -- people who are sympathetic with her values instead of feeling threatened by humaneness. Yes, life is difficult and often sad, so let's tackle it with a smile!

Was the above review useful to you?

101 out of 143 people found the following review useful:

Maybe the world is too much for even the most dedicated optimist?

Author: seawalker from Birmingham, England
23 April 2008

Some UK critics have been saying that "Happy-Go-Lucky" is the happiest and most cheerful movie that Mike Leigh has ever made. Well, I don't know if I would exactly agree with that. It is and it isn't.

Sally Hawkins' primary school teacher Poppy is, indeed, a very happy individual. Annoyingly happy, insanely cheerful, depressingly optimistic and psychotically 'Up!', most of the time. It is a tribute to Sally Hawkins performance that, once you get past the initial irritation with her, you completely fall in love with Poppy, her goodness, her openness and, yes, her simple niceness.

Then there is Eddie Marsan's driving instructor Scott. Scott is the very antithesis of happy. Scott is rigid, angry, frustrated, impatient, knotted up and racist. A borderline OCD sufferer, who is tortured by who-knows-what in his past. Scott is the most bitter and overwhelming character in a Mike Leigh film since David Thewlis' Johnny in "Naked". It is a towering performance by Eddie Marsan.

If Poppy is the light, Scott is definitely the dark, but it seemed to me that dark shadows inhabit the whole of "Happy-Go-Lucky". The unhappy schoolboy, the glum Sister, the other sister - a social climber who dominates her husband. Little vignettes of irritation and annoyance. Typical Mike Leigh.

"Happy-Go-Lucky" is a really good film, if you stick with it. I liked the way that Poppy does stop smiling towards the end. Maybe the world is too much for even the most dedicated optimist?

Was the above review useful to you?

89 out of 140 people found the following review useful:

Whatever she's on, I'll have a double, please

Author: starvin4megravy from Australia
10 July 2008

Mike Leigh's done it again ... for fans and detractors alike! Poppy, his latest creation, sails through this slice of life with a smile on her face, fun on her mind and kindness in her heart.

Irritating? I didn't think so. On my good days, I rather hope there's a little of her in me.

For me, she was quite brilliantly brought to life by the excellent Sally Hawkins. Ironically, if she calls to mind any other inhabitant of Planet Leigh then it's probably Jane Horrocks's rather more sour Nic (or was it Nat?) in Life Is Sweet.

And Poppy has much to be happy about. A true friend, with whom she shares a not-too-shabby flat in a Finsbury Park that I shall not stoop to comparing with the N4 district of my own experience. A job she was born to do, among supportive colleagues. An enjoyable social life, memories of travels past, a cool reetro bike (for a while, at least ... ) and a wardrobe straight out of (ahem!) an Australian's nightmare all go to emphasise the message given by the film's title.

Into her life ambles driving instructor Scott, played by the ever-welcome Eddie Marsan, and the real fun begins. If Poppy can be said to stroll across the surface of life's duckpond without even getting the soles of her cowboy boots wet, then Scott is a man slowly drowning. The film's strongest plot line (this *is* Mike Leigh!) charts the evolving relationship between these apparent opposites,and the interplay really lights up the screen.

To say more would dent your enjoyment should you decide to go and see for yourself! If you go by bike, remember to lock up securely or - better still - maybe your best friend will take you along in her "mad" yellow car.

However you get there, why not let Poppy's attitude infect you for a few hours after you leave? It probably will anyway ...

Was the above review useful to you?

45 out of 62 people found the following review useful:

Not So Happy

Author: Melissaslist from United States
13 October 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Whenever I meet people who seem to be happy all the time I wonder if they are crazy or if they just know something I don't. While I don't get them I'm still fascinated by people like this, which is why I went to see this film.

I found this film to be disappointing. I read great reviews and from the trailer it looked like it would be lots of fun. While I thought Hawkins did a good job in the role, and in fact all the acting was good in my opinion I failed to see the point of the story. Yes, Poppy is always happy, giggly, and positive and feels it's her duty to brighten the days of others and allow them to see life from her point of view. This doesn't really seem to work very well, from the clerk in the book store to the homeless man, to her sister to Scott the belligerent driving instructor. All she seemed to do was irritate these people for being so insanely chipper and wanting to force her cheeriness onto others and fault them for not seeing life the same way. I found HER annoying in this respect.

I honestly felt if she DID have a real effect on those people and DID somehow brighten their lives by just being around then the story would have made more sense. I felt Poppy was genuinely kind, sweet, and childlike, however she WAS selfish, as Scott pointed out and did "have a real need to be adored". She was immature and disrespectful during all her lessons which angered Scott while feeling that she was just being happy and sweet. There are times for jokes and there are times to be a bit serious. If you're mocking another person and what they do don't expect them to be happy with you.

In the movie "Closer" Jude Law's character tells Clive Owens character that "everyone wants to be happy" to which Clive Owen's character responds "depressed people don't want to be happy. They WANT to be depressed". I kept thinking of that scene after leaving "happy go lucky". Poppy's view of life works for HER, but doesn't work for everyone, and is not everyones (or most people's) true nature. While someone who IS so happy might want to impart their wisdom onto others maybe these people don't want to be educted as to how to see things differently.

Was the above review useful to you?

60 out of 99 people found the following review useful:


Author: kittycatbarton from United Kingdom
4 September 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I have wasted 2 hours of my life watching this trite film. The characters are one dimensional, the plot is non existent, the script awful and the direction is lazy.

The only reason I have given this film 2 stars is for the scene where Scott (played by Eddie Marsan) the driving instructor, pulls Poppy's hair...the very least he could've done, considering how bloomin' annoying she is. The other star was for Eddie Marsan's acting, although he was wasted in this drivel.

As for the character of Poppy trying to make the world a 'happier' place: maybe she should try listening to people, instead of her constant snickering and mocking attitude.

Words cannot express how much I loathed this film, but then, I've always hated people who say "cheer up, it may never happen". Next time someone says that to me I'll reply with: "it already has, I watched Happy-Go-Lucky".

Was the above review useful to you?

46 out of 73 people found the following review useful:

A contrary view

Author: toby-266 from London, United Kingdom
8 January 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I went to this movie against my better judgement, in the hope that Mike Leigh and his band of luvvies had managed to make something digestible for the general public. And in fact, I don't think this is a bad film, and I am not surprised at the favourable reviews.

But - and that's a big but - while many commentators say they went to this film expecting to be irritated by it, and ended up enjoying it, I found the reverse effect.

Poppy is a happy and optimistic person, uplifting to behold, but also incredibly naive. It is as if her happy personality is sufficient defence against the fact that she tips over the edge half the people around her.

I felt immense sympathy for Scott, played brilliantly by Eddie Marsan, who is one of those disturbed people - with a background and childhood we can only guess at - who are able, just, to live within society. But like a dripping tap, Poppy wilfully pushes him bit by bit, with no understanding of him at all, until he explodes. It's as if the bubble of happiness that she lives in is justification for the hurt she wreaks on others. Scott is not a likable character. But until he met this idiot woman, he was able to function without causing any harm.

Furthermore, Poppy goes into a dark building, again in her happy bubble, to be confronted by a tramp. I sat there thinking, "You stupid woman, why on earth did you go there?". Frankly, if she'd been beaten to a pulp, I would have cheered.

Was the above review useful to you?

28 out of 38 people found the following review useful:

It should be called "Crappy-Go-Lucky"

Author: zenzelmo from United States
16 March 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

How can anyone dislike a movie like "Happy-Go-Lucky" without appearing to be a curmudgeon? I don't know, but I'll try. First, the main character's perpetual smiling and giggling at every question and obstacle she faces seems to be more the result of a socially inept nervousness than from having any understanding of the world. Second, the main character's approach to a problem with a bully in the class she teaches ends up appearing to have more to do with the physical attraction she has for the male social worker that comes to help than it does with the tragedy of the bully being physically abused at home. Third, the main character's run-in with a mentally ill homeless man on her way home one night seems to be more about satisfying her own superficial curiosity than it does her interest in learning anything about the human condition. And fourth, the main character's final encounter with her driving instructor seems more evident of her total lack of previous insight than it does her ability to be able to reach out to a tortured soul.

I guess what I disliked most about the movie is that these four key plot points appear to be put in the movie to try to make us believe the main character, Poppy, was not just a flighty party girl, but had some depth of spirit that we could emulate. I hope nobody emulates Poppy. Even though I think it is important to be happy in this world, it is more important to be happy for the right reasons. True happiness goes to the core of the soul. Poppy's happiness was as whimsical and deep as the clothes that she wore.

I gave it three points for some comedic charm.

Was the above review useful to you?

42 out of 66 people found the following review useful:

Offensive main character supposed to be lovable

Author: c7c7c7r from United States
22 November 2008

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Poppy is a 30 year-old school teacher who acts like smirky 14 year-old. Her non-stop comments are not particularly clever, & she has a smug attitude with most people she doesn't know. How is she "happy-go-lucky"? Director Mike Leigh doesn't know how to write characters. The unlucky actor who played the driving instructor had a tough job--Leigh has him be a racist,homophobe AND a religious nut-- written as a cartoon villain. And next to Poppy, he STILL came across as more worthy of the audience's sympathy. *Spoiler*--How dare she refuse to give him his own car keys,because she thinks he's too angry to drive--when she was nothing but flippant & uncaring during her driving lessons--she was too interested in her own snarky prattle than the road. This is an obnoxious movie, and worse--Leigh isn't talented or intelligent enough to realize he did everything wrong.

Was the above review useful to you?

24 out of 32 people found the following review useful:

I trusted the rating :(

Author: Mark Beronte from United States
20 June 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I just had to write this comment because I generally value the ratings given to movies here on IMDb for guiding my viewing, and making good use of my limited amount of movie watching time given an almost unlimited number of movies. Well it didn't quite work out this time. The over 7 rating is almost a crime.

This movie can best be summed up by the very first scene in which the main character is wandering through a book store, spots a book entitled "The Road to Reality", looks at it, laughs, and says "Don't want to go there". Yes it might be funny if this attitude was not so utterly common and so deeply connected with almost every major issue facing the planet today.

But still maybe a good movie could be made on such a premise, but alas, More than half the movie consists of the very annoying main character, either chatting inanely with her friends, or turning every single comment by anyone else, into a joke which only she could possibly find funny.

Yet there seem to be many reviewers here who somehow think that she is inspiring and her attitude something to aspire to, but I would argue that maybe they are confusing the strained positivity of ignorance, with the peace of mind that comes with wisdom, yet they are at opposite ends of the spectrum.

Anyway save your time unless it is indeed your goal to be an always positive airhead.

Was the above review useful to you?

Page 1 of 20:[1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11] [Next]

Add another review

Related Links

Plot summary Plot synopsis Ratings
Awards External reviews Parents Guide
Official site Plot keywords Main details
Your user reviews Your vote history