Imagine an award committee requesting for the written script of a movie, which they consider as probable winner and the director watching the movie again to write a script. This should happen often with Mike Leigh, who just explains the plot and the scene to his actors, who have to improvise it with many rehearsals and even further on the shoot. That is a terrific, but brilliant way of film making. I have heard that Priyadarshan is able to shot adverts without even a story board. But will he be able to do a whole film? I doubt it,especially if that movie has to be comparable with the ones of Mr. Leigh, impossible. This man is incredible. He picks so out of the ordinary themes and brings out the real human reactions on those themes. Mostly his themes are so not that easy ones, like in Secrets and Lies and Another Year. In Happy go lucky, he has chosen a simpler topic, more light hearted one and have still given us another out of this world kind of light hearted movie.
Poppy is 30, single, lives with her best friend and is working in a primary school as teacher. What makes her special is her attitude to life and everything around her. She is so pleasing, looking at everything and everybody in a nice and good way, that she doesnt mind her to look stupid even, to give a nice feeling to the other. The movie is all done with some of her interactions with her friends, her sister and family, her cynical driving teacher and a new boy friend.
Well thats it. There is nothing more happening in the movie. But, what we are in is actually a treat. A wonderful character, Poppy, takes us through some really touching moments and through other characters. From her close friend, Zoe, to her Flemenco teacher to her student to her sister and partner to the cynical driving instructor Scott and a gentle boy friend. All this characters are very different from Poppy and actually almost quite opposite to what Poppy represents. But with the interaction of Poppy, we actually understands how more nice it would be if all could react with the easiness of Poppy. This is no better explained than through the scenes at her Sisters home and also the ones with her driving instructor Scott. Scott actually can create a lot of hatred, but towards the end, we could really feel for the man. And yes, even Poppy feel sorry for him at that stage. That scene, the confrontation between Poppy and Scott is a master piece I would say.
Sally Hawkins plays Poppy brilliantly. An out of this world character actually and played with unimaginable perfection. The only comparison, to my knowledge, for this kind of character is Amelie played by Audrey Tautou in the Le Fabuleux destin d'Amelie Poulain. But Amelie is a completely different movie. I would consider Sally's performance even better for the very simple and primary reason for not working on a basic script. For eg, that scenes of driving lessons, when she comments about the happenings around, which are spontaneous are really wonderful. The single scene which made me think she should get an award was the beginning of her Flemenco class.The shot of her popping sidewards for keeping away her sunglass was brilliant and more than funny.
Definitely, this is light hearted, but there is of course an underlining of sadness, not just on the character of Poppy, but on Zoe, the husband of her sister and of course Scott. I was still thinking about all these people, long after the movie finished.
Here is a unique director with a distinct style that can be picked up from even a thousand works.