Ode to an English Optimist
Release Date: October 10, 2008
Starring: Sally Hawkins, Alexis
Zegerman, Eddie Marsan, Karina
Fernandez, Caroline Martin,
and Samuel Roukin.
Audience: Older teenagers and adults
Runtime: 118 minutes
Distributor: Miramax Films/Walt Disney
Director: Mike Leigh
Executive Producer: None
Producer: Simon Channing Williams
Writer: Mike Leigh
Address Comments To:Daniel Battsek, President
(A Division of The Walt Disney Company)
375 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10013
Phone: (323) 822-4100 and (917) 606-5500
Fax: (323) 822-4216
Sally Hawkins plays Poppy, who’s swiftly approaching 30 but has yet to find her Prince Charming. The movie opens with someone stealing her bicycle. No worries. Poppy decides to start taking driving lessons. The agency she signs up with gives her an angry, uptight cynic named Scott, who doesn’t appreciate Poppy’s jokes or happy personality.
Poppy encounters even more challenges to her optimistic approach to life, including a young bully in her class, a flamenco dancing instructor who’s unhappy about being dumped by her man, and her bitter pregnant sister. She is able, however, to seriously attack these and other problems while maintaining her upbeat attitude. “You can’t make everybody happy,” her flatmate Zoe tells her. “No harm in trying,” Poppy replies.
Sally Hawkins creates a truly memorable character in this movie by Mike Leigh. She could get an Oscar nomination. The movie is funny and positive, without minimizing the serious problems her character encounters. The lack of a main plotline may be off-putting to some viewers.
Despite the protagonist’s positive outlook, her attitude does not rest on God or any other profound concept. HAPPY-GO-LUCKY also contains some foul language, including a string of “f” words from Poppy’s angry driving instructor in one scene. Poppy eventually goes to bed with a male social worker she likes. Also, the movie contains some politically correct elements. The driving instructor seems to be an angry conservative of some sort, who complains about multiculturalism and makes some bizarre allusion to the Washington Monument’s width adding up to 666 inches (it actually adds up to 661.5 inches). Other than that, there seems to be no consistent ideology behind his anger (which probably is a sign of vague writing).
Sally Hawkins creates a truly memorable character in HAPPY-GO-LUCKY. The movie is funny and positive, without minimizing the serious problems the heroine encounters. Despite Poppy’s positive outlook, her attitude does not rest on God or any other profound concept. HAPPY-GO-LUCKY also contains strong foul language and brief politically correct elements. Eventually, Poppy sleeps with a male social worker she likes. All this merits strong caution for media-wise viewers.