Mike Leigh has followed up one of his dreariest films, 2004’s Oscar-nominated Vera Drake, with one of his breeziest. Happy-Go-Lucky, which stars the ingratiating Sally Hawkins as Poppy, an improbably good-natured primary school teacher, opens with a burst of energy. Poppy bicycles effervescently through the streets of London, not a care in the world, before pausing to do some book shopping (and playfully harass the store’s employee). When she finally leaves, she discovers that her bike has been stolen. “I didn’t even get a chance to say goodbye,” she sighs, before moving on, not one to let this small bit of victimization get her down. Chin up, Poppy goes about her business, off to the club with her girlfriends and then, the next morning, to plan an art project for her students. Her reaction is either charming or utterly insane, depending on your point-of-view. And that, in a nutshell, is the point.
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