Thursday, March 20, 2014
Indie Review: Happy-Go-Lucky (2008)
A Masterful Comedy That Leaves You 'Happy' Yet Speechless
Before I watched this film online, I thought as the title suggested, I would be left with a big smile on my face in the end, but surprisingly not. It didn't leave me sad or anything like that because it is a funny movie, but I was stunned and I couldn't come out with words by the time it was over.
Happy-Go-Lucky follows the life of Poppy (Sally Hawkins) who is a schoolteacher that is cheerfully optimistic and always tries to be positive. However, those around her, including her driving teacher Scott (Eddie Marsan), aren't as positive as she is. The film follows Poppy and how she interacts with those around her as well as how she observes the neuroticism of others.
What I Liked About It:
First off, I absolutely LOVED Sally Hawkins' performance. She is not only funny and smiley, but there are very poignant scenes where she interacts with others the way she doesn't normally does and she shows a more humanistic side to her character. Another performance that I thought was amazing was Eddie Marsan as Scott. Marsan really excels as a man who is essentially the yin to Poppy's yang since Scott is much more pessimistic and views the world differently than Poppy does. Whatever Marsan says will either have you laughing or have you going "Aww" like you almost feel sorry for him.
I also really liked the direction from director Mike Leigh. I liked how in some scenes, he shoots a long take and that to me allows the film to maintain its artistic integrity. One of the best scenes where Leigh does a long tracking shot is where Poppy's dance instructor is having a breakdown and going on about frustrations going on with her personal life and the camera just keeps focusing on her. I even thought it was amazing how Leigh was able to take a comedic film and create underlying drama, which works because it is funny at the right parts and poignantly dramatic at the right parts. But what left me speechless about this film is just how in ways I felt like I could relate to Poppy. The way she observes people's pessimisms reminds me of how I observe people's pessimisms. We both just try to stay optimistic and sometimes it doesn't help others feel the same way. That just made the character of Poppy more realistic.
What I Didn't Like About It:
Overall, Happy-Go-Lucky is a poignant and realistic comedy that offers something unique to the comedy genre and features an outstanding performance from Sally Hawkins. This one I would highly recommend to anyone as it is funny yet dramatic without cheap sentiment.