Friday, 13 July 2012

Film Review: HAPPY-GO-LUCKY (2008)

Happy-Go-Lucky - poster Writer/Director: Mike Leigh
Running Time: 118 mins (approx)
Certification (UK): 15

Genre: Comedy/Drama
UK Release Date: 18th April 2008

Watched on Sky+ Friday 13th July 2012.


I always remember a film that I hear the reviewer waxing lyrical about and this is one such film. I have seldom seen a Mike Leigh film that had little (or nothing) to offer and so I thought I’d give it a look even though it’s not the sort of film I would usually opt for. I must admit it did have its good points but ultimately failed to hit the mark (for me at least). I will explain why after this very brief summary.

Happy-Go-Lucky - 8 Poppy is a 30 year old junior school teacher from North London who lives in a flat (apartment) with her flatmate Zoe who is also a teacher. She has a very cheery disposition and is always there with a smile and witty quip for just about every occasion. We see the everyday comings and goings in her life and when her bike is stolen she decides to take driving lessons. The driving instructor, Scott, is the total opposite of Poppy; he takes life very seriously and is very intolerant of those that don’t. As you can imagine this could be a recipe for some interesting chemistry… Unfortunately the film just dips into their interactions and concentrates more on events in Poppy’s life, both at work and play. Everything from bullying in the classroom to flamenco is part of Poppy’s varied existence. Sadly there’s no cliff-hanger I can leave you on… well not one that I can talk about without giving too much away; so I’ll leave it there before the Spoiler Police (North London Division) catch on.

Happy-Go-Lucky - 4 Well made with, as is usual for a Mike Leigh film, the actors taking centre stage and as such it’s a very performance-driven piece. Sally Hawkins did a great job as Poppy, although I didn’t much like her character, I thought she played it well. For me, the star of the show was Eddie Marsan as Scott; a much more complex and interesting character played with great aplomb. The supporting cast; Alexis Zegerman as Zoe, Sylvestra Le Touzel as Heather and Kate O'Flynn as Suzy were all very good.

Happy-Go-Lucky - 2 A film that seemed to be made up of scenes that didn’t really relate to each other particularly well. One minute she’s going trampolineing, the next its flamenco and then there’s a very interesting scene with a tramp, although I did enjoy some of the flamenco scenes too. The only thing that seems to tie her, seemingly chaotic, life together is the driving lessons with Scott; of which we don’t see enough (IMO). Over all, a film that did have its moments but ultimately fell a bit wide of the mark for me.

My Score 6.4/10

IMDb Score: 7.0/10 (based on 21,275 votes at the time of going to press).

MetaScore: 84/100: (Based on 34 critic reviews provided by at the time of going to press).

Happy-Go-Lucky - 7 Rotten Tomatoes ‘Tomatometer’ Score: 93/100 (based on 151 reviews counted at the time of going to press).

Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 65/100 ‘Liked It’ (based on 32,911 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).

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Happy-Go-Lucky - 6 FAVOURITE QUOTES:
Poppy: Do penguins emigrate?
Zoe: What - do they move to the Costa del Sol?

[repeated line]
Scott: En-ra-ha!

Poppy: It was in a Cadillac. Miami. Bunny-hopped down the beach. I was a bit pissed. It was hilarious.

Scott: The education system in this country produces left-brain prisoners!

Helen: You want a baby though, don't you Poppy?
Poppy: No thanks, I just had a kebab!

Happy-Go-Lucky - 3 LINKS:
(Note: All were working at the time of going to press)
Official Site:

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