Must-See Quirkyalone Movie of 2008: Happy Go Lucky by Mike Leigh

Leave it to the British to create the most quirkyalone movie of 2008. If you haven’t seen Happy Go Lucky, starring the (could there be a quirkier actress) Sally Hawkins, you must run, not walk, to your local independent theater. The movie is more character-driven than plot-driven, as we float through life with a 30-year-old primary school teacher with a sturdily sunny demeanor.

What would Poppy do? That’s now what I will ask when I’m confronted with irritating situations or difficult people. Poppy is unlike anyone that I’ve ever met, but there’s something about her approach to life which I aspire to.

Quirkyalone money quote from the film: Poppy’s younger sister, who is pregnant, married, and living in the suburbs, lays into Poppy, telling her she needs to grow up and start by investing in a mortgage. “I just want you to be happy,” she says. Poppy responds, “I am happy. I love my life. I have a great job, amazing friends, yeah, it can be tough at times, but that’s part of it.” “I am one lucky lady,” she says, “and I know that.” Why it such a breath of fresh air–even revelatory-to hear a single woman count her blessings on film? Is it because we never hear that in popular culture, or because we don’t actually believe that single women can love their lives? I believe Poppy’s character.

Happy Go Lucky was everything that the Sex and the Movie claimed to be and was not. Both movies are about female friendship, but in the Sex and the City movie, all that Carrie and co. ever talk about is men. In Happy Go Lucky, the characters talk about all the things that run through women’s minds, I should quit smoking, or one of my students is violent, and what should I do, and are we grown up yet? Men and fashion are not the only reference points for life or fun. They go out dancing and make fools of themselves, collapsing into pools of girliness. The row boats in the park and talk about life.

I am still pondering the movie 24 hours later. Have you seen Happy Go Lucky? What did you think? I’m curious to hear from other QAs.