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.
Set in the 1880s, the story of how, during a creative dry spell, the partnership of the legendary musical/theatrical writers Gilbert and Sullivan almost dissolves, before they turn it all around and write the Mikado.
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
Poppy is the whole film and I found her disingenuous and irritating
When this film came out my girlfriend said she wanted to see it because she'd heard good things. After much time waiting for her to be in the mood for it, I eventually queued it up when by myself and I am glad I did as she would have truly hated this film. The plot (as light as it is) is about a 30-year-old woman who is as cheerful and perky as the day is long. She hangs out with her friends, she meets a guy, she learns how to drive and in all these things we see her infectious sense of happiness. There isn't much more to this and I do not thing I have seen a film that depends so totally on whether or not you like the main character.
I said she is infectious but then so are many diseases and to be honest I found Poppy to be as enjoyable. Her character is the type to speak to strangers, to constantly have a zany remark, to be the one making a spectacle of herself and so on. Of course her being the polar opposite of me didn't help, but I found nothing to make me question myself here and on the contrary I spent much of the film wondering if Polly isn't suffering from some sort of mental illness. The majority of the film sees Poppy in full-on zany mood, mostly in collaboration with others but occasionally contrasting her with a dull married couple and her driving instructor, who carries all of his anger with him all the time. When the film is letting Poppy just be herself I found it tiresome. As a character she says nothing real and everything is a little joke or witty episode. It is only the contrast where she comes out and I think there is really only one or two moments in the film where I felt a real person had come out of Poppy.
The cast are mixed and not in a goo way. Hawkins got lots of praise of this performance but I thought it was terrible. In one or two scenes she lets the façade drop so we see her at her most real. I loved these moments but the downside of them was that we then know the rest is a façade and not her really. Her acting involves cheeky mockney dialogue and little else. Marsan is much better. His rage and anger is convincing and his performance works well next to the moments when Hawkins is not OTT cheerful. The supporting cast is OK but really it is Hawkins' film and this is something to keep in mind.
Whether you like this film or not depends very much on liking Poppy. You may find her freewheeling color to be charmingly quirky but for me she used it as a barrier to any real discussion or humanity and she struck me as disingenuous throughout the film. The moments where she drops the wisecracks and zaniness and lets something like empathy or concern for others come through are great, but they are few and far between.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful.
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