Note: Review is condensed down from usual length – RM

Chances are you’ve met someone like Poppy in your life. She’s the customer in the coffee shop who talks to everybody in line, the people who’d much rather keep to themselves and make their order. She’s the guy on the subway who wants to tell you about a weird occurrence he just witnessed, when you’d much rather just sink into your seat and read your book. Poppy is a person who is outgoing to the fourteenth power…and really, what’s wrong with that?

HAPPY-GO-LUCKY is a character study. There is a plot, but really it’s all about following Poppy around on her day-to-day for a few weeks. She leads a cheery, if unspectacular life. She finds great joy in simple pleasures like going to dance class, hanging out with her flatmate, and jumping on a trampoline. She’s as sunny as a Girl Scout, and draws you in when you know that you’d really just like to run away from such oddity.

While Sally Hawkins’ performance is memorable, the story is a tad wanting. It never seems to build off Poppy’s quirkiness. She keeps running in the same circles for two hours, while occasionally breaking the pattern to go on a date or fend off an unwanted, though rather sad advance. It’s a shame too, since Hawkins seems to show some real muscle when she finds herself in theses rare tense moments. Looking back on the film, I can’t help but wonder how much more I’d have loved the movie, had it built on these challenges a bit more, and given Poppy a real crisis with which to handle in her own glass-half-full type of way.

While far from perfect, the movie is worth a watch, if only to see a marvelous performance. Poppy exists to remind us that we don’t need to have it all to be happy, and don’t need to recoil from those around us who are happy. We live in cynical times, where optimism is often confused with naivete. Perhaps if there were more people like Poppy around, life wouldn’t seem like so much of a chore.

Matineescore: ★ ★ ★ out of ★ ★ ★ ★
What did you think? Please leave comments with your thoughts and reactions on HAPPY-GO-LUCKY.