Saturday, November 22, 2008

Happy-Go-Lucky (2008)

Mike Leigh's latest is a demanding experience - it demands from its audience to shed every movie-watching instinct it has developed over countless amounts of dull films and take this film, which is completely devoid of any irony, to heart. Happy-Go-Lucky is just that - a film stripped off any expected maneuverings  in the plot department and just goes on its way with the freest of spirits.

The film is a magnificent triumph of acting and film-making. Sally Hawkins' Poppy is an infectious character. Her incredibly optimistic point-of-view of everything, surprisingly, manages to be anything but jarring. Leigh conjures up situations that test Poppy's worldview, but they never succumb to petty tragedy, gratuitous violence, or self-sacrifice. Poppy remains unchanged and unfazed after what happens to her - especially at the finale - but her attitude is actually given an extra momentum. We know by the end of it she will keep on living her life the way she wants to. And along the way she will embrace what adulthood will bring: relationships, children, sickness, and death.

I can't find enough superlatives to praise this film. 

1 comment:

rican said...

A fantastic movie with a stellar performance by Sally Hawkins! I could not help but to relate to her wonderful character as I too find myself being too nice and wanting to solve people's problems. It's amazing how Mike Leigh can make blue collar UK seem as familiar as the intelligentsia literati that Woody Allen usually writes for. A tragedy that Hawkins and Leigh got snubbed for Academy Awards.


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