Happy-Go-Lucky (2008)

Just how hard is it to be happy? In the effervescent new comedy from writer/director Mike Leigh, Sally Hawkins stars as Poppy, an irrepressibly free-spirited school teacher who brings an infectious laugh and an unsinkable sense of optimism… More

Directed By:
Rated: R
Running Time:
Release Date: October 10, 2008
DVD Release Date: March 10, 2009
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Critic Score: 93% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews

Consensus: Mike Leigh's latest partially-improvised film is a light-hearted comedy with moments that bite, and features a brilliant star turn by Sally Hawkins.

Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel

Hawkins wears her grin in almost every scene, but she gives us hints that this dizzy 30-year-old is deep, as are the disappointments that might have caused Poppy to don this mask. It's a performance of sustained, childlike wonder and adult wit.

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Tom Long
Detroit News

Sally Hawkins, in a blinding, Oscar-worthy piece of acting so good you barely see it, plays Poppy, a perpetually upbeat elementary schoolteacher in London.

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Sarah Silver
Stop Smiling

Once we relax enough to be carried along with the overlapping waves of jokes and remarks, the occasional quip pierces through the tornado of words and strikes a funny bone, sometimes before we realize why we are laughing.

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Connie Ogle
Miami Herald

It's a powerful argument for optimism.

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J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader

Leigh pushes the story in a more interesting direction, asking whether people find happiness or simply will it on themselves.

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Kelly Vance
East Bay Express

You just want to protect her, from the world, from everything, but really she's much stronger than you are.

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Amy Biancolli
Houston Chronicle

I've never used this cliché in a review before, and God forbid I ever use it again, so pay close attention: Happy-Go-Lucky is the feel-good movie of the year.

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Amy Nicholson
I.E. Weekly

The intentions of this oddity are muddled, but the small portraits of ordinary people choosing their path through the daily range of depression and delight are fully alive.

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Ian Buckwalter

If you leave the theater feeling uplifted (and unless your heart is made of cold gray concrete, you will), it wasn't due to manipulation, but a result of the film having honestly earned it.

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More reviews for Happy-Go-Lucky

Flixster Audience Score: 66% Flixster User Reviews
Carlos Magalhães
A refreshing film that will leave you smiling, with a cheerful character that may at first be mistaken for simple-minded in her constant optimism but later on… More
Jens S.
This cheeky comedy about a female teacher who enjoys looking on the bright side of life feels a bit like the British reply to France's Amelie. That mostly… More
Alice Shen
0 stars. This was the first time I gave a movie zero stars on Flixster...and it's not because I'm a cranky old bastard who hates happy movies. The… More
Saskia D.
Poppy annoyed the crap out of me in the beginning of the movie. You start to think that maybe she has a loose screw somewhere. But when you see the people she… More
Reid Volk
An engaging character study about a woman blessed with a sunny disposition. It is a rare occasion that you see a protagonist who's care-free nature… More
Bethany Murphy
So awful. There are no words. Really bad. Don't watch it.