Idol Chatter

happygoluckypic.jpgThe timing of the release of a movie that centers around a woman who is perpetually upbeat, no matter the circumstances, is pretty intriguing to me to say the least. Just as I thought the eccentric but heartwarming “Lars and the Real Girl” was last year’s cinematic litmus test of an audience’s cynical side, so it is this holiday season with Michael Leigh’s ( “Secrets and Lies”, “Vera Drake”) whimsical film “Happy-Go-Lucky.” However, “Happy Go Lucky” finds audiences members in considerable more dire circumstances than a year ago in many cases, so I wonder if this relentlessly upbeat film will be more of spirit-lifter or a symbolic form of rubbing salt in cultural wounds.

School teacher Poppy is a thirty-something single woman who insists–no matter how much others try to tell her otherwise–that she is happy with her life. Even when life gives her lemon after lemon in the way of driving instructors, busybody friends and others who seem determined to ruin her sunny disposition, Poppy is resolute in her happiness.
There aren’t any big twists or turns in this movie, and our lovable protagonist doesn’t really change much as she goes through her day; it is more those around her that are changed to some degree. And while there were certainly moments while I watched the film that Poppy’s quirky brand of sunshine started to grate on me just a little bit, it didn’t last for long. (As I said earlier, how much of Poppy’s spunky antics and witticisms you can stand will, in fact, probably be a hint to the state of your own state of mind.)
The film puts an interesting face on the notion that we either see the proverbial glass half empty or half full and it is certainly a daily choice for each of us to do so. Certainly that is a worthwhile notion for a relatively fluffy bit of entertainment. If I really have any quibble with this story it is the idea that, spiritually speaking, our entire goal in life should be to be happy. Certainly from my perspective there is a difference between joy and happiness and the Bible never guarantees we will always have the latter. But this is a distinction too subtle for this particular character study.
Still, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t at least try to join Poppy in finding the bright of side of life where you can. In these rough times, that might be difficult, but if Poppy can do it, so can we.
Sally Hawkins at

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