welcome to lobos reviews

title image

Movie Review: Happy-Go-Lucky

Alternate Title: Little Miss Sunshine

Story: Sunshine and light is something we have come to expect from a Disney film - not a film by writer and director Mike Leigh (Secrets & Lies, Vera Drake). It seems there are no certainties in film and Mike Leigh has given us a successful character study that diverts from his usual path.

Poppy, our protagonist is happy-go-lucky. Evil is often more interesting to watch on the big screen. Goodness can often be cloying. Our Poppy sees the world as one overflowing glass of liquid sunshine and inserts her exuberance everywhere she goes whether it is asked for or not. Can this bounciness be irritating? Annoying? At first I was suspicious and a bit uncomfortable with this perky, optimistic piece of fluff but soon found her endearing and authentic.

The story is a series of vignettes in Poppy's life. How she fills her time when not teaching her third graders is the heart of the tale. She takes driving lessons, flamenco dance classes, parties with her friends and generally sucks life in for every atom it offers. Her clashes with the dark side of life's inhabitants inject themselves into her carefree world and how she handles these encounters is the beauty of this movie.

This is not a film for everyone but if you want to see one heck of an actor and see how much work it takes to be happy all of the time check out this latest Mike Leigh film.

Watch the trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P97wbtckTEY

Acting: Sally Hawkins as Poppy gives a tour de force performance that is well worth the price of admission. Eddie Marsan as driving teacher Scott, is magnificent as representative of the darker side of life. Alexis Zegerman as roommate Zoe hits all the right notes.

Trivia: English director Mike Leigh is the son of Jewish-Russian immigrants. When actors audition for him, he asks them to sit at a table while he observes. Leigh uses a minimal script and has his actors improvise.

Predilection: I like Mike Leigh films.

Critters: Loads of street pigeons and a dog being carried over a guy's shoulder.

Sex Spectrum: Some kissy face stuff.

Soundtrack: The music by Gary Yershon is odd. The bouncy segues between scenes is reminiscent of TV sitcom fluff.

Opening Titles: Simple black background with white type.

Visual Art: The attention to detail is eye popping grand.

Theater Audience: A few Mike Leigh fans and us.

Weather: It is worthy to note that in our cock-eyed optimist's world view it is always warm and sunny in London.

Drift Factor: I did look at my watch a few times and think the film could have been shortened by a good 15 minutes.

Predictability Level: I was not sure where we were headed in this one.

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: Sally Hawkins' performance is surely Oscar worthy but I would not count on it happening.

Big Screen or Rental: Either

Length: Two hours.