Sunday, November 30, 2008

Happy-Go-Lucky - Review

This upbeat movie is a bit thin on plot, but makes for an interesting character study. Despite the bright colours and irrepressibley cheerful lead, it is actually more serious than meets the eye. The characters Poppy encounters reflect the unhappy societal problems that she has been turning a blind eye to in order to maintain her sunny disposition, and lead her to question whether or not she herself is really happy.

Not that the film isn't funny. Mike Leigh keeps the viewer constantly on guard with his crisp humourous dialogue, and the actors make the most of it. Hawkins and Marsan are a potent duo on screen, and Karina Fernandez steals the show in her all-too-brief role as the Flamenco dance instructor.

Hawkins deserves a nomination, as does Leigh for his screenplay, and those don't seem like unreasonable predictions. But the most deserving award prospect for the film is also the least likely; Eddie Marsan, whose angry driving instructor is carefully peeled back to reveal the true issues behind his agression. If there's any justice, a Best Supporting Actor nod is in store.

***1/2 out of ****

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