by DeAnn Welker October 16, 2008 1:31 pm
Happy-Go-Lucky Director Mike Leigh, who last brought us the dark (and Oscar-nominated) abortion rights drama Vera Drake, apparently found that movie as gloomy as everyone else did and decided to get happy for his next movie. That's how we ended up with Happy-Go-Lucky, which centers around a teacher named Poppy who is extremely happy despite the fact that she should, by all accounts be miserable. (She's single, she doesn't know how to drive, she can't dance, etc.) She stays happy through it all, which could be completely annoying except that Sally Hawkins, who plays Poppy, really seems to sell it in a way that's sweet without being saccharine and genuine without being precious. It looks like she'd utterly believable in the unbelievably happy role. And because she's happy and other people are not, all sorts of mishaps ensue: She pokes fun at a pregnant woman's expanding belly and the pregnant woman thinks Poppy's being mean and rubbing it in (she's not). Then there's her driving teacher, who is enraged that she doesn't already know how to drive. And her dance instructor, who tries to get Poppy to be less happy by sharing her own tales of her depressing life, sending the dance instructor -- but not Poppy -- spiraling into a breakdown. Since it is from Mike Leigh, it will probably have its serious moments and will not just be a fluffy, rom-com with a happy ending. But even if it doesn't get any deeper, there's nothing wrong with escaping to a happy movie in a dark theater for a couple hours.

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