Ben Oliver

Banner image for Happy-Go-Lucky


The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.
01 February 2015

Sally Hawkins plays Poppy, an easy-going, cheery (happy-go-lucky…) 30-year old in London. She encounters Scott, a grumpy, paranoid driving instructor (Eddie Marsan).

Perhaps this film caught me in a good mood. Ordinarily I’d find Poppy an annoying character, but Sally Hawkins makes it work. She’s cheery but realistic enough, and perhaps the fact that she’s willing to deal with pain and confront her problems endeared her to me.

Eddie Marsan also puts in a good performance and seems genuinely unhinged. Some of the supporting cast seem to struggle more however, notably Poppy’s flatmate and her boyfriend.

Mike Leigh adds an artsy touch to the film but not at the cost of substance. His unique style brings a truthfulness and intrigue to scenes that might otherwise be lacking.

This isn’t a masterpiece and at times Poppy does get annoying. However, I found Happy-Go-Lucky charming for the most part. Although far from his best, it’s a solid film from Leigh.