We're not used to optimism and frolicing from Mike Leigh (Naked, Vera Drake), but why not welcome it with two open arms when it is done in such an openhearted and inspirational way as this. Happy-Go-Lucky is fussy, meandering and almost plotless, and some people may find Poppy a little too much to take, but Sally Hawkins' warm and winning performance is full of infectious positivity and energy. She represents more than meets the eye, however. This is a character who deserves to get onto the big screen and to remind us to lighten up and lose some bias. She isn't here trying to get liked by everyone; she's here trying to like everyone. Happy-Go-Lucky points out the notable difference, as Mike Leigh yet again shows that he is one of the best writers of strong female characters working in films today.
Now, although Poppy is happy and positive, and only wants good things for the people she meets, that doesn't mean her conduct only brings good things with it. Her naivety and lack of tact often leave the people she meets saddened and infuriated. Despite being a feel-good film about a chronically upbeat young woman, Leigh provides depth to his story in showing that Poppy far from evokes only happiness in her wake. A smile can be contagious, but someone like Poppy can be experienced as threatening. Fine performances (with Hawkins as the standout) and a sensible, delicate finale sum up this refreshing little film.