Rating: 3.5 stars
For a completely different kind of heroine, I strongly recommend Mike Leigh’s Happy-Go-Lucky. His Poppy is willfully cheerful, loving, and giddy—at times obnoxiously so. Leigh dares to ask: Can such good cheer be threatening? If so, why? If this were an American film, Poppy would be a dumb blonde, a bright-eyed naif, a la Anna Farris in The House Bunny. But Poppy is no dummy. She’s chosen to live a life that is open and generous, and a little bit ridiculous. Featuring a brilliant turn by Sally Hawkins as Poppy, and by Eddie Marsan, who plays the bitter, closed off driver’s-ed teacher whose life is irrevocably changed by this life force.