Directed by: Mike Leigh
Premise: Sally Hawkins plays a carefree young woman with an impossibly positive attitude. The film follows her interaction with the rest of the world, which is not such a happy place.
What Works: Sally Hawkins gives a very impressive performance in Happy Go Lucky and her unwavering enthusiasm and energy are a lot of fun to watch. This is a tricky role, one that could have quickly become annoying or obnoxious, but Hawkins’ earnestness wins out. She knows when to dial down the character and bring her to more human dimensions and her interactions with a high strung, misanthropic driving instructor (Eddie Marsan) give the film its best moments, especially as their relationship comes to an explosive climax. The contrast between Hawkins’ character and the rest of the world allows the film to reveal how needlessly angry a lot of us are, and the film makes its point without climbing on a soapbox. There is some terrific and witty dialogue in the film and Hawkins enhances it in her high-energy performance.
What Doesn’t: Happy Go Lucky does not have much going for it in the way of story. The picture is more of a character study of a woman who has retained a youthful optimism and playfulness about the world. Given the lack of story, the film goes on just a little longer than it should.
DVD extras: Commentary track and featurettes.
Bottom Line: Happy Go Lucky is a fun little movie with some good performances. While in theaters it never opened very widely but now that it’s on DVD it is certainly worth a look.
Episode: #257 (September 27, 2008)