Happy-Go-Lucky stars Sally Hawkins as Pauline Cross, a very upbeat and energetic primary school teacher as she laughs her way through life.
Film making 15/25
Bonus Features 10/25
Happy-Go-Lucky is a British comedy from Mike Leigh that follows a few months in the life of Pauline Cross, a primary school teacher, that’s elementary school for us Americans. While the film does have a few shining moments as well as a couple of gripping scenes I think it fell flat with its over the top enthusiasm of the lead actress and general lack of a main theme.
The story starts with a day in the life of Pauline, nickname of Poppy, as she leads a very ordinary life in London as a teacher and single woman. During the film you meet her sisters, best friend and flat mate as well as several others including a new boyfriend and her almost psychotic driving instructor.
The one major theme of the film is her taking driving lessons after her bike is stolen which she shrugs off as one of those things. The last lesson with this particular teacher has him picking her up and going on and on about how everybody is out to get him.
After several minutes of this self obsessed ranting he pulls over and the trade places for Poppy to drive and Poppy takes the keys from him. She tells him they are not going anywhere until he calms down as he is acting very irrational and the film suddenly takes a very serious tone for a few minutes
This sets him off and he starts yelling and screaming then trying to wrestle the keys from her and pulling her hair until she gets out of the car. He ends up calming down and she walks away after giving him the keys back and telling him that this is their last lesson.
There are several scenes where Poppy is teaching and trying to stop one of her students from bullying others and she meets a social worker named Tim who she ends up sleeping with. Another major theme of the film is her taking up flamenco dancing and winding up with another slightly embarrassing tirade from the teacher when Poppy sets her off as well.
She has such enthusiasm for life and vibrance in her daily outlook that it is almost contagious and I can understand how she received a Golden Globe for Best Actress. The film just does not follow any major theme to get you really motivated about the characters or in tune with the story so it was a bit boring.
Happy-Go-Lucky is literally a few months in the life of Poppy but without many major scenes other than some small ones. There are two major events that make a bit of emotional appeal but the movie just lacks any major theme that would have given it more appeal for me.
The film has a lot of positive ratings but for the life of me I cannot figure out why, it is one day in the life scene after another punctuated by a fight with her driving instructor. The plot is literally one scene after another of her daily routine; going to a club on the weekend, teaching at her school, going to a rave, spending a weekend at her pregnant sisters and then the fight with her instructor.
The bonus content of the DVD has an audio commentary, a feature called Behind the Wheel that goes into depth about the driving instructor and Poppy as well as a feature about Poppy herself and her happy attitude. The film itself is not worth bothering with and the extra content to me seems to add to the nonsense that is Happy-Go-Lucky.