Thirty-year-old teacher Poppy (Sally Hawkins) always has a smile on her face and does her best to brighten the days of those around her by making small talk and cracking jokes. In the course of Happy-Go-Lucky, she discovers that you can’t always brighten someone’s day.
Poppy decides that it's time to take driving lessons and enrolls in the Axle School of Motoring. Almost instantly, Poppy and her stressed-out driving instructor from Hell, Scott (Eddie Marsan), clash and you think that she’s met her match. On top of that, she decides to take flamenco lessons.
Mike Leigh (Secrets and Lies, Life is Sweet, Naked) never makes an out-and-out comedy; he’s too concerned with real life to do that; so the audience either follows the ups and downs of Poppy’s life.
“Poppy is one of the most difficult roles any actress could be assigned. She must smile and be peppy and optimistic at (almost) all times, and do it naturally and convincingly, as if the sunshine comes from inside. That's harder than playing Lady Macbeth… She is a joy to behold. [Scott] is played brilliantly by Eddie Marsan, an English comedian who as an actor often finds morose, worrywart roles…; Marsan is spellbinding “ Roger Ebert 10/23/2008
“Mr. Leigh has a documentarian’s eye for unadorned reality — his people and places look equally lived in — and his dialogue has the ebb and flow, the swells and eddies and logjams of ordinary conversation..” Manohla Dargis, New York Times, 10/9/2010
(Directed by Mike Leigh, Great Britain, 2008, 118min., color, Unrated)
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