Road To Reality', I don't want to be going there."
Known for his bleak films, the great British filmmaker Mike
Leigh gives us something completely different with Happy-Go-Lucky,
a cheery film led by a lead character that is always optimistic
and tries to inspire others to see life that way as well,
by simply always being that way herself. The character is
Poppy and she is played with brilliant charm and complexity
by Sally Hawkins, a veteran collaborator of Leigh that should
finally get the praise she deserves for this wonderful performance.
Through Hawkins portrayal Poppy and those she meets (including
the contrasting driver instructor, excellently played by a
bitter Eddie Marsan) Happy-Go-Lucky observes and questions
happiness and whether or not it is found or forced. The beauty
here (as with all Leigh's films) is that these characters
are not used as metaphors, but rather they exist on themselves.
Any broad metaphors or philosophy that emerge, comes from
the characters who represent themselves. Like Robert Altman,
Yasujiro Ozu, or Jean Renoir this is what makes Leigh one
of the great humanist filmmakers. His films always leave us
with great characters and now we have the unforgettable, life-affirming
Poppy, who is definitively living life in the moment.