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Happy Go Lucky

Published October 10, 2008 in Movie Reviews
By Fred Topel | Image property of respective holders
Happy Go LuckyHappy Go Lucky
When I heard about Happy Go-Lucky, I thought it was a film The Secret would want me to see. I try to be positive all the time. If someone made a movie about that, that's for me.

Review: Happy Go Lucky


Poppy (Sally Hawkins) is adorable. She's not naïve. She just knows everything's no big deal. Her bike's stolen? So she can walk, and she should learn how to drive anyway. Someone's a sourpuss? Too bad for him, she can still enjoy things.

For a while I thought the film was just the random adventures of happy Poppy. Just seeing her take driving lessons, hang out with her friends, take dance classes and teach school felt like a very loose portrayal of life without a driving plot. The could be fine, as the random adventures do provide a hook worth watching.

Poppy is exhausting in a good way. She's just breathless, giggling and smiling. The people who just take themselves so seriously make you antsy, because she knows how ridiculous they are.



It's less interesting when they're just having banal conversations, like the "real" discussion about kids playing video games, parents being afraid to let them play outside and going on chat rooms. Yeah, that's filmmakers simulating real talk and it's a placeholder between happy scenes.

However, this analysis may be moot because I realized at the end that all of these encounters did have a very strong point. Poppy threatens all the insecure people out there and it comes to a head.

Her happiness forces unhappy people to defend themselves. They're so insecure they can't handle her being so happy. They have to justify it that she's lacking something, or even accuse her of trying to impose on them.

That's when I say, "Seriously, dude, it's not about you. Get some perspective on the big picture." Now Poppy does make a few comments suggesting that she actually does want to make others' happy, but I think that's just a byproduct of her state of mind. It's not like a mission and she's not affected if someone doesn't catch on. She just keeps being happy because it's how she likes to be.

Either way, to suggest that being positive is some selfish agenda against the other people is the heart of the human problem. The film makes that point after its series of scenes. Even though it's very indie with its lack of structure and rambling storytelling, it worked for me.

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Fred Topel
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