Happy-Go-Lucky

User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 249 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 40 out of 249

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User Reviews

  1. SusanG.
    Oct 10, 2008
    10
    A movie that will have you belly laughing. Poppy is one smart cookie. Sally Hawkins is brilliant.
  2. DanielW.
    Oct 20, 2008
    10
    You really have to give this movie a chance. I thought after 10 minutes that Leigh had committed one of the rare missteps of his career -- an investigation of happiness by a director who is more at home on the dark side of the soul. But spending time with Poppy makes you realize that her happiness is actually a strategy for dealing with the dark side, by someone who understands what it You really have to give this movie a chance. I thought after 10 minutes that Leigh had committed one of the rare missteps of his career -- an investigation of happiness by a director who is more at home on the dark side of the soul. But spending time with Poppy makes you realize that her happiness is actually a strategy for dealing with the dark side, by someone who understands what it would mean to give into it. There has been much talk of a seemingly incongruous scene in which the main character has a surreal, unintelligible but nonetheless deeply felt conversation with a homeless man. I thought this was the centerpiece of the movie: Poppy is in a sense looking into the mirror at the shipwreck that can occur to a person if the commitment to happiness (and therefore, Leigh seems to be saying, to sanity) is not kept up. The cast is as always in Leigh's movies astonishing. Cancel the Oscars, deliver acting awards to Hawkins, Marsan, and to the wonderful Alexis Zegerman, and be done with it! Expand
  3. LinL.
    Jan 4, 2009
    7
    This is one of those odd movies you might find yourself liking better a couple of days later than you did while watching it. (While watching it, you sometimes want to wring Poppy's scrawny little neck.) Later, you recall Poppy's verve and loyalty and determination to persevere in a crappy world, and you really wish her the best. At times, the actors' improvising is all too This is one of those odd movies you might find yourself liking better a couple of days later than you did while watching it. (While watching it, you sometimes want to wring Poppy's scrawny little neck.) Later, you recall Poppy's verve and loyalty and determination to persevere in a crappy world, and you really wish her the best. At times, the actors' improvising is all too obvious, as when the misanthropic driving instructor's rants go on and on and on. Great acting by Hawkins, so different from our glam and airbrushed U.S. starlets. Expand
  4. AlekT
    Jan 8, 2009
    10
    I, too, am surprised at some of the negative comments this film is receiving, but it's played to a mixed reaction from my own friends as well. I think that actually speaks to why Happy-Go-Lucky is so interesting. How you react to Poppy -- what you think of her -- says something about you, and the way you approach life, happiness, optimism, immaturity... Poppy isn't instantly I, too, am surprised at some of the negative comments this film is receiving, but it's played to a mixed reaction from my own friends as well. I think that actually speaks to why Happy-Go-Lucky is so interesting. How you react to Poppy -- what you think of her -- says something about you, and the way you approach life, happiness, optimism, immaturity... Poppy isn't instantly lovable. She isn't perfect, and she isn't right. This movie isn't about sympathizing with or succumbing to Poppy's character; it's about understanding who she is, why, and how the people who keep her company -- who care for her -- do. She calls into question our memetic cynicism in a way that is sometimes refreshing, sometimes misguided, but she does it, because there's so much more to her than some of us jaded individuals are willing to see. Expand
  5. cindynevins
    Jan 28, 2009
    8
    So refreshing to see how Poppy views the ups and downs of each situation she encounters. With a positive attitude like hers it gives all of us hope who many times sees the glass "half empty"
  6. MartinR
    Mar 13, 2009
    8
    Quirky, innovative, unique, mainly funny, yet darkened by the amazing cab scenes. A Movie like no other.
  7. SarahK
    Mar 17, 2009
    10
    This movie is a gem. How often do we see a movie that actually examines the real-life risks of leading a happy life, and whether happiness itself makes it worth it? Also, the acting is extraordinary.
  8. RobC.
    May 29, 2009
    9
    I loved this film. A refreshing change from your average Hollywood movie, this one made me think during, and after watching it. Some really interesting stuff in it - I think most people can relate to it.
  9. MatthewA
    Jun 10, 2009
    9
    What a charming and funny character study. I went into this film not expecting much, but i got a whole lot more out of it than intended. The leisurely pace may not be for all, but for those who stick with the film may get a lot out of it. Sally Hawkins plays "Poppy" a very friendly and good-spirited girl who interacts with a variety of other characters that can be found in our world. Some What a charming and funny character study. I went into this film not expecting much, but i got a whole lot more out of it than intended. The leisurely pace may not be for all, but for those who stick with the film may get a lot out of it. Sally Hawkins plays "Poppy" a very friendly and good-spirited girl who interacts with a variety of other characters that can be found in our world. Some of these people who she comes in contact with are the exact opposite of her. This makes for very interesting interactions and funny dialogue. I was reading many of the negative reviews on this film and can understand why those people had a problem with it. They just plain don't like Poppy, and wouldn't like to spend more than an hour in her presence. I found her funny and charming, while others (and this i can understand) find her annoying. However, i feel that her character is undeniably valid, and even though you may not like her character, the audience should be willing to take a step into her shoes. The story is all about Poppy's life, so just be a part of it and SMILE! Expand
  10. DaveW
    Apr 19, 2009
    10
    For once a film that leaves me speechless. The best, most subtly intelligent movie I've seen in at least a year. Don't be fooled by the hype -- I hate sentimentality and forced optimism. That didn't get in the way of my loving this film. Great writing and directing combined with an astonishing cast, especially Sally Hawkins.
  11. PeterH.
    Apr 25, 2009
    7
    This entertaining film from Mike Leigh is more a portrait than a film, but it still holds up as an entertaining comedy.
  12. mike
    May 15, 2009
    10
    Very good performances. The man who played scott( Eddie Marsan) was very good. The scene where scott confronted poppy(Sally Hawkins) was so mind numbing.
  13. JannieA.
    Oct 7, 2008
    9
    Truly a life changing experience. Sally Hawkins is brilliant.
  14. IanG.
    Oct 11, 2008
    10
    I'm not good at explaining why or not that I liked a movie, but I really enjoyed this. And of course it helps that Sally Hawkins really is one the best actresses around today.
  15. DennisD.
    Oct 13, 2008
    10
    This might be cliche - -but it just made me feel happy -- and thought both Sally Hawkins and Eddie Marsan were brilliant -- give them both Oscars.
  16. AliC.
    Oct 14, 2008
    9
    A fantastic performance in a great and thought-provoking film. Sure, she can get annoying occasionally, but that's because she is a real character - everyone can be annoying at times. The film though as a whole is definitely worth seeing - hilarious at times (I truly laughed out loud) and sad at others.
  17. JacquiS.
    Oct 14, 2008
    10
    A wonderful film. I really didn't want it to end... I just wanted to stay with Poppy as I loved her. Fantastic!
  18. Dave
    Oct 27, 2008
    9
    I really find it hard to believe some people giving this film 1's and 2's. Yes, Poppy was very upbeat, sometimes a bit annoyingly so. You have to look deeper at how she interacted with her two sisters and other relationships in her life. I think it really covered up some deep sown sadness that she felt, which was also mentioned by another poster here. Overall, an extremely good I really find it hard to believe some people giving this film 1's and 2's. Yes, Poppy was very upbeat, sometimes a bit annoyingly so. You have to look deeper at how she interacted with her two sisters and other relationships in her life. I think it really covered up some deep sown sadness that she felt, which was also mentioned by another poster here. Overall, an extremely good file with fantastic acting as is always the case with Mike Leigh films. He set the bar very high with "Secrets and Lies", and while not quite reaching that, he comes pretty close. Expand
  19. RandyC.
    Nov 11, 2008
    9
    I found the film to be incredibly funny and uplifting. The narrative style is non-traditional. Very little conflict, so for some it may seem boring. I was mesmerized by the organic quality of the acting, directing and camerawork. Sally Hawkins' performance was my fave of the year so far.
  20. tj
    Nov 13, 2008
    8
    I think a lot of people just won't get this movie because it really isn't plot driven...so not much happens. Mike Leigh writes great dialogue...but it's low-key, slice of life writing. Don't expect any great drama or goofy, over the top comedy. My friend and I laughed a lot, but I noticed we were the only ones laughing. I think a lot of Americans are baffled by this I think a lot of people just won't get this movie because it really isn't plot driven...so not much happens. Mike Leigh writes great dialogue...but it's low-key, slice of life writing. Don't expect any great drama or goofy, over the top comedy. My friend and I laughed a lot, but I noticed we were the only ones laughing. I think a lot of Americans are baffled by this type of film. I'm not sure why people have to love everything about the main character. If real life bores you then don't go. Expand
  21. JimR.
    Nov 15, 2008
    9
    This slice of life/character study by Mike Leigh gains an extra dimension from the question posed: what makes someone happy? But don't expect a traditional plot.
  22. David
    Nov 16, 2008
    10
    Some of these scores just further confirm to me of the dumbing down of America! People are so used to being fed garbage by Hollywood they can't appreciate a great film!!! I mean really some of these comments? "What's this movie about?" Huh? I really don't think it's that hard to understand. Anyway, I hope to see some Oscar nominations for this, it is highly deserving.
  23. John
    Nov 16, 2008
    10
    Easily one of the best films of the year!
  24. BethC.
    Nov 24, 2008
    7
    Most people seem to either love or hate this film. It is basically a slice of life film, with a meandering plot that is frequently slow moving. The most interesting part is the interaction between Poppy and the driving instructor. At the beginning of the film I found Poppy rather irritating, and sympathized with the driving instructor for having to put up with her. Yet as the characters Most people seem to either love or hate this film. It is basically a slice of life film, with a meandering plot that is frequently slow moving. The most interesting part is the interaction between Poppy and the driving instructor. At the beginning of the film I found Poppy rather irritating, and sympathized with the driving instructor for having to put up with her. Yet as the characters are further revealed to us, I found that Poppy really did grow on me. I didn't really see anyone as a villain - everybody is trying to cope as best as they can. And Leigh does leave us with something to think about - particularly on the nature of happiness. Expand
  25. Joseph
    Dec 12, 2008
    10
    Glad to see that this film got several Golden Globe nominations. Can't believe some of the scores and comments about this film. I guess most people are so used to being spoon fed the story and plot that when they actually have to think it is beyond them. Well, at least the Golden Globes got it right!!!
  26. BobE.
    Dec 17, 2008
    9
    A brilliant film. Sally, who at first seems silly and gullible, later proves to have solved many of the subtle problems connected with being happy, e.g. what to do with disappointment, loss of her bike to a thief, and surly folks who turn aside her innocent friendly gestures with anger. The real test is her wrathful driving instructor: exquisitely well-portrayed. Sally Hawkin's is so A brilliant film. Sally, who at first seems silly and gullible, later proves to have solved many of the subtle problems connected with being happy, e.g. what to do with disappointment, loss of her bike to a thief, and surly folks who turn aside her innocent friendly gestures with anger. The real test is her wrathful driving instructor: exquisitely well-portrayed. Sally Hawkin's is so gentle with him! But his pain is so deep she can't reach him. And here we come to the essence of the story: She must choose to put some limits to her compassion - and move on with her life. That she does this with such grace is a marvelous piece of acting. She is a fascinating character. There is a great deal for a Buddhist to think about in Happy-Go-Lucky. Please see this film. Expand
  27. DanielR
    Dec 22, 2008
    9
    A delightful, charming little movie. Hawkins' performance is miraculous. How this movie can't make you happy is beyond me.
  28. EvanS.
    Jan 15, 2009
    10
    5.9? Really? We're in a sad state if audiences is unable to see a movie like this and see it's amazing soul. This is one of the few movies I've seen in years that has a real heart. God bless Mike Leigh. I wish more American filmmakers could match his talent and will. There are some who come close (Ang Lee and "The Ice Storm" to think of one), but he stands alone.
  29. TomK.
    Jan 24, 2009
    10
    Wonderful, thought provoking movie.
  30. Hollyc
    Mar 24, 2009
    7
    Interesting that most people seem to either love or hate this film. I don't generally enjoy Mike Leigh Films---they have no plot, and revel in "every-day-ness" and HGL is still in that vane, though I think it had a lot more plot then usual. Like many, I started off thinking this character was annoying--and like a lot of people who try to be open and generous--positive, sometimes it Interesting that most people seem to either love or hate this film. I don't generally enjoy Mike Leigh Films---they have no plot, and revel in "every-day-ness" and HGL is still in that vane, though I think it had a lot more plot then usual. Like many, I started off thinking this character was annoying--and like a lot of people who try to be open and generous--positive, sometimes it comes across as irritating and an affectation (so I liked how Hawkins played this character& forces you to react to her). However, the real "plot" surrounds the "tests" Poppy goes through w/ others as we follow her. I do think she genuinely grows throughout the film and I did warm to her. I thought the driving instructor was the centerpiece of the story, the basic antithesis of her--so that dynamic was incredible to watch unfold. Overall, I thought Hawkins and the driving guy--Marsen were brilliant. Liked the character study and meditation on optimism/happiness, but don't particularly enjoy how Leigh tells "stories". Worth a rental. Expand
  31. Nov 12, 2013
    8
    The acting is wonderful for the most part and the characters are quite believable. What's funny is that no matter how hard I look, there's no actual plot to the film. The general idea is to view a jokingly happy woman's life with different perspectives and understanding...with the help of several sub-plots. Despite the fact there isn't a reason to watch Happy-Go-Lucky, it's oddly enjoyable.
  32. May 23, 2014
    10
    HAPPY-GO-LUCKY is easily one of the best films I've ever seen so far. It's od-ly enjoyable and I smile every time I watch this.
    Sally Hawkins is amazingly brilliant! Her performance as (like the movie's title) Happy-Go-Lucky woman and humble person melted my heart. The movie has a beautiful message for us.
    Again, Sally Hawkins is the heart and soul of this hilarious, powerful and funny
    HAPPY-GO-LUCKY is easily one of the best films I've ever seen so far. It's od-ly enjoyable and I smile every time I watch this.
    Sally Hawkins is amazingly brilliant! Her performance as (like the movie's title) Happy-Go-Lucky woman and humble person melted my heart. The movie has a beautiful message for us.
    Again, Sally Hawkins is the heart and soul of this hilarious, powerful and funny Britain picture.
    Expand
  33. Sep 2, 2014
    7
    Another achievement in film for Mike Leigh, Happy-Go-Lucky is an unusual look into the life of one of the most peculiar women in all of Britain. Sally Hawkins is marvelous--I think we'll be seeing more of her.
Metascore
84

Universal acclaim - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 31 out of 34
  2. Negative: 0 out of 34
  1. As surprising as it is delicious with an indelible performance by new star Sally Hawkins.
  2. Reviewed by: Alissa Simon
    70
    Mike Leigh's mellowest work yet, and his most purely entertaining.
  3. 70
    The movie is not an argument for chaos; it's an argument for making one's way through life with a relaxed will and an open heart.