"Ode to an English Optimist"
What You Need To Know:
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.
(H, BB, PC, Ho, LLL, V, S, N, AA, D, M) Light humanist worldview with some strong moral qualities that, however, lack direction, plus some politically correct content that’s not developed and some references to homosexuality that fit in with the movie’s light political correctness; about 32 obscenities (including more than a dozen “f” words), two strong profanities, and three obscene gestures, including a two-fingered British insult; boy hits another boy and wrestles a second one to the ground and man becomes uncontrollably angry on the verge of hitting someone or causing a car wreck but nothing results; implied fornication and light references to homosexuality, plus angry man makes crude sexual remarks in one scene; upper male nudity, woman in bra and female cleavage, including one scene where drunken woman makes a joke about another woman’s cleavage; alcohol use and drunkenness; smoking; and, protagonist’s bike is stolen and uncontrollable anger.
HAPPY-GO-LUCKY is a funny, dynamic character study from England about an elementary school teacher in London with a sunny personality who uses her optimistic nature to cheer people up and solve problems.
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).