Happy-Go-LuckyDirected by: Mike Leigh Cast: Sally Hawkins, Eddie Marsan, Alexis Zegerman, Samuel Roukin Time: 2 hrs Rating: R
Plot: Poppy (Hawkins) is a woman who is always wearing a smile on her face. She walks through life always looking for the positive spin on things in North London with her friends.
Who’s It For? Are you convinced that sunshine always beats rain? This is a film that will test the theory. It's actually tough to say if this is for people who can't stand the annoying over-talker in the group, or for those who have no idea they are the one who just can't shut up.
Expectations: I have been a fan of Leigh but it comes down to one film: Topsy-Turvy. Otherwise Secrets & Lies and Career Girls underperformed for me.
Actors: Sally Hawkins as Poppy: It's an amazing piece of acting, and I couldn't stand it. Poppy won't stop talking, and rarely is it about anything important. The key here is that her happiness is tested ... her non-stop lollipop view of the world. Right from the beginning you get a sense of Poppy's spirit when her bike is stolen and she's upset because she didn't get a chance to say good-bye. Here's the problem, I find this type of person unbalanced and frankly I don't believe in their outlook most of the time. I mean, back pain makes her laugh. I could actually see this performance being nominated and Hawkins does put her all into this performance. It's not about me liking the character, it's about respecting the actor. Score: 8
Eddie Marsan as Scott: Scott is the unbalanced driving instructor. You're not really sure what role he plays in Poppy's life at first. Is she flirting? Does she simply want him to smile more? But there is a nice odd relationship of two people with totally different backgrounds and attitudes forced into a tiny car. If Marsan looks familiar, he's the bad guy that serves no real purpose in the film Hancock. Score: 6
Samuel Roukin as Tim: Tim comes out of no where to be the love interest. And here's where the problems of the film become obvious. He seems terribly normal and nice. So I kept thinking, what the hell is he doing thinking Poppy is a great person to hang out with? Surely not everyone from North London can be like this. It doesn't add up. Score: 5
Alexis Zegerman as Zoe: Zoe is the right-hand-woman of Poppy's. They have lived together for over a decade. There isn't nearly enough exploring done with this relationship. They pretty much just hang out. There is no tension when Poppy finds a boyfriend. Zoe seems totally fine with spending less time with Poppy even though, for the most part, they are like an old married couple. Score: 4
Talking: Very quickly you notice all conversations between Poppy and her friends are pointless. It's the insanely quick, back and forth comments that fills up otherwise lovely silence. It's the mood they create with these words, not what is actually being said. So you drift away, and then whenever anything real is said, it's like you've become aware a hint too late. And couldn't they have thrown me one little, "Poppy peed on my sofal!" from "Seinfeld"? Also, it took me until the credits to officially know if they were calling her Poppy or Puppy. Score: 2
Sights & Sounds: North London looks bleak and the camera work inside the car scenes with Poppy and Scott are extremely close-up to create a hint of claustrophobia. It works for the moments, since I felt relief every time Poppy got out of the car ... But is that really the feeling you want to create for a slice-of-life drama? Score: 3
OVERALL Yes, Sally Hawkins does an amazing job, but she also plays a type of person that the majority of us can't stand. It's beyond Poppy's positive outlook. I can handle and appreciate that, but it's the constant diarrhea of the mouth (an awful phrase that fits in this situation) that kills the film. I don't believe in the happiness because Poppy never sits still to take it all in. She actually displays all the necessary signs of being on too many anti-depressants, though no one brings up that angle in the film. Final Score: 4/10