Movie to Watch: Happy-Go-Lucky

Happy-Go-Lucky (2008)
Written & Directed by Mike Leigh
Produced by Simon Channing-Williams

You guys. You gotta watch Happy-Go-Lucky. It's on Netflix now, and it's absolutely lovely.

It's such a simple story - we follow the everyday life of Poppy (played by the divine Sally Hawkins), a single 30-year-old grade school teacher who defines the term joie de vivre. She is absolutely happy with herself and with her life. Such an admirable goal! Something we all have trouble with!

And it's not that she doesn't have to deal with confrontation or "bad stuff." Her bike gets stolen. A shopkeeper is a total jerk to her. Her younger sister is married and having a baby before she is. Her driving instructor has anger management issues. A kid in her class is acting out and physically assaulting other kids. But the beauty of it is - Poppy is ok with it. She deals with the stuff the best she can, and when it's over, she let's it go and moves on. She doesn't judge. She doesn't dwell. She simply chooses to move on! To something happier and better.

It quietly and surreptitiously explores this idea that happiness is different to every person - and who are we to judge what makes someone happy? Poppy is continually judged or told she can't really be happy with her life...her married sister tells he to get her act together and lock down a husband. Her driving instructor clearly misinterprets her good attitude as a lack of intelligence. Even her roommate, who we like, tells her she needs to stop being so nice to everyone. Everybody's got an opinion on how happy and legit Poppy really is.

But I think she truly IS happy. And I think Poppy is the sort of person who would always be happy because it's all in her viewpoint and her reactions, not in her worldly possessions and status.

And if you need more incentive - Mike Leigh and his script were nominated for Best Original Screenplay at the Academy Awards, and Sally Hawkins won the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Comedy/Musical.

Treat yourself to this movie. It will cheer you up. It will remind you how much your attitude can make a difference. I now find myself thinking of Poppy and how she would handle a situation. Hopefully I can handle it as gracefully and cheerfully as Sally Hawkins did!