You will either love this movie or want to throw your shoe at the screen within the first five minutes. That's the kind of reaction Poppy (Sally Hawkins) and her excruciating optimism can evoke in people. She is goofy, bubbly, herky-jerky, and weird. As she goes about her life in London teaching kids, hitting the pub with her girlfriends, and taking driving lessons with a particularly alarming driving instructor, Poppy approaches everything with an open heart and disarming empathy. While everyone seems particularly invested in whether or not she's happy being single, Poppy seems pretty cool with it either way. Sure, there's the hot guy she's riding piggyback on the cover of the DVD, but it's not the point as much as Poppy's love of life itself.
Writer/director Mike Leigh's method of developing his characters with his actors means the final product is incredibly natural. That, I think, is key to the intimate scenes of Poppy and her friends screaming with drunken laughter after a night of clubbing or taking care of each other when they're hungover or cooking dinner. "Happy-Go-Lucky" is about love between friends, too.
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