Happy-Go-Lucky (R) 118 minutes C+
A happy girl in a cruel world
Starring Sally Hawkins, Alexis Zegerman, Andrea Riseborough, Samuel Roukin, Sinead Matthews, Kate O'Flynn, Sarah Niles, and Eddie Marsan
Mike Leigh has been nominated for 5 Oscars and has won numerous film awards throughout his illustrious career. His latest film, Happy-Go-Lucky has been well-received by critics and has done very well on the festival circuit this year (chalking up wins at the Hollywood Film Festival, the Norwegian International Film Festival, and the Pula Film Festival).
The lead character and main focus of the film is 30 year-old Poppy (Sally Hawkins), a London schoolteacher and chronic optimist. She is indeed happy-go-lucky, so much so that she almost seems a little retarded. Throughout the film I asked myself this question- "Could I be friends with someone like Poppy?" She's a great person, but she's so damn cheery it might drive me crazy.
That being said, she is undeniably adorable, and her character is one that the audience can wrap their hearts around. But despite the character's appeal and a great performance by Sally Hawkins. I thought the film was a little slow in the beginning. I felt that Leigh spent too much time convincing us (the audience) that Poppy was a wise-cracking free spirit. I kept waiting for something to happen, and when it finally did the momentum was thrown off by a strange scene (involving a homeless man) that seemed oddly out of place.
The second half of the film is a home run. Totally absorbing and infectiously entertaining. This is a film worth seeing but it may require a little patience.