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Mike Leigh

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About the Movie

Academy Award nominee Mike Leigh (Best Director and Best Original Screenplay, Vera Drake, 2004), delivers the delightfully fresh and cheerful comedy HappyGoLucky. Free-spirited and effervescent, Poppy is a schoolteacher whose unstoppable optimism guides her life. Bubbling forth with giggles, laughter and jokes, life's a bowl of cherries even when she comes across a few pits. Whether it's a cranky driving teacher or a fiery flamenco instructor, Poppy embraces life on the sunny side of the street. It's a joyous, feel-good film you'll find irresistible.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 157
  • Fresh: 145
  • Rotten: 12
  • Average Rating: 7.7/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Fresh: It is a decidedly clear-eyed exploration of the challenges of being happy. And, as such, it's both an enjoyable comedy and a fascinating character study. – Claudia Puig, USA Today, Oct 18, 2008

Fresh: The new Mike Leigh film, Happy-Go-Lucky, is a real pleasure, and besides being Leigh's most buoyantly comic feature it's a marvelous showcase for Sally Hawkins, who has worked twice before with the British writer-director. – Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune, Jul 7, 2010

Fresh: The key to enjoying the film, a minor effort by Leigh, is warming up to Poppy. Her bubbly personality may be too much for some. She's like a walking, talking smiley face. – Ruthe Stein, San Francisco Chronicle, Oct 18, 2008

Fresh: Happy-Go-Lucky isn't one of Leigh's epic social canvases like Secrets & Lies or even Topsy-Turvy; rather, it's an edgy character study whose message only gradually emerges. – Ty Burr, Boston Globe, Oct 18, 2008

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews


You can't help but come away from this movie feeling cheerful. It's a simple story with a simple message. Life doesn't have to be difficult if you just take it for what it is. This is the second movie I've seen with Sally Hawkins (the other is Made in Danegam) and She is one fine actress, I hope to see more of her and if these two movies are any indication of her talent, we will. Why it has an R rating, I don't know, PG13 would have been better suited. Watch this one you won't be disappointed.

Bought it.

I wish she could reprise this role because I love this character. There are certain people who make everyone around them happier and more at peace.

You got a big surprise coming to you

For everyone expecting a typical feel-good movie, you're in for a whole different experience. So don't let the US trailer for this Mike Leigh masterpiece beat you. In "Naked", another award-worthy Mike Leigh piece, you have a man who comes off as too negative for his own good. Here, in "Happy-Go-Lucky" you get a woman who is too positive for her own good. In fact, she is optimistic to the points of ignorance, immaturity, and stubbornness. That point was put in perspective in a conversation between Poppy (Sally Hawkins) and her sister. The same is shown when Poppy's excessive happiness becomes the last straw for driving instructor Scott (Eddie Marsan). Leigh did the right thing having each driving lesson be a build-up to Scott's ultimate view of Poppy. Another noticeable element: the differing reactions to Poppy's "happiness". Her flat mate is used to it (though she let's Poppy know that it will not rub off on everyone). Poppy's sister finds her bubbly streak childish. Scott finds it exploitive and a threat to his overall core. Poppy's other friend, a mysteriously frustrated soul, doesn't seem to care. The flamenco instructor does not have time to notice, as she has a whole class of students to focus on. Overall, Mike Leigh keeps the tone, pace, and feel as down-to-earth and relatable as possible, resulting in a cathartic effect that leaves us (the audience) asking ourselves, "How do/would I react to that kind of energy?" or "Am I that happy or that sad?" As much as "Good Morning, Vietnam" or "Dead Poets' Society" digs into the idea of looking on the bright side, "Happy-Go-Lucky" digs a little deeper. And allows us to fill that and other holes ourselves in place of filling them for us with supposed absolutes--like in Leigh's other films. What a character study ought to be. The main and supporting characters each have a possible story that can be told in another film. Move aside Hollywood moneygrubbers, this is REAL storytellers' work. Sally Hawkins was right when she said that Poppy is extreme with her giddy streak and that she takes nothing seriously. She and Eddie Marsan both deserve accolades for best leading and supporting players. Personally, if I were around someone who's that happy all the time, I'd want her out of my life, and fast. Much as I despise 24/7 pessimism, I doubt I can take optimism at the same rate. As a kid, I was in the grey area about it; but now, I'm with Scott and Poppy's sis. If you think you're better off being like Poppy, you've got a big surprise coming to you. Forget "Legally Blonde" and "He's Just Not That Into You". "Happy-Go-Lucky" is the one to see, share, and cherish--slowly but surely.

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