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Happy-Go-Lucky

10happ75 When someone steals her beloved bike, eternally cheerful schoolteacher "Poppy" Cross takes up driving and is paired with a sour instructor -- who's both attracted to and repelled by Poppy in this upbeat slice-of-life tale.
HD Available
Netflix Rating: 3.0
NYT Critics' Pick
"Happy-Go-Lucky" is closely tuned to the pulse of communal life, to the rhythms of how people work, play and struggle together. Read the review
Rotten Tomatoes: Fresh 93%
Critics' score: 93   Audience score: 65   Rotten Tomatoes page
Top Rotten Tomatoes Critics

Hawkins wears her grin in almost every scene, but she gives us hints that this dizzy 30-year-old is deep, as are the disappointments that might have caused Poppy to don this mask. It's a performance of sustained, childlike wonder and adult wit. full review

Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel

It's a powerful argument for optimism. full review

Connie Ogle, Miami Herald

I've never used this cliche in a review before, and God forbid I ever use it again, so pay close attention: Happy-Go-Lucky is the feel-good movie of the year. full review

Amy Biancolli, Houston Chronicle

Sally Hawkins, in a blinding, Oscar-worthy piece of acting so good you barely see it, plays Poppy, a perpetually upbeat elementary schoolteacher in London. full review

Tom Long, Detroit News

Leigh pushes the story in a more interesting direction, asking whether people find happiness or simply will it on themselves. full review

J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader

The new Mike Leigh film, Happy-Go-Lucky, is a real pleasure, and besides being Leigh's most buoyantly comic feature it's a marvelous showcase for Sally Hawkins, who has worked twice before with the British writer-director. full review

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune

Sally Hawkins been in movies before, including Leigh's "Vera Drake" and Woody Allen's "Cassandra's Dream," but this is her star-making role. She was named best actress at Berlin 2008. I will deliberately employ a cliche: She is a joy to behold. full review

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

Expertly directed by Mike Leigh, Happy-Go-Lucky is not only joyous but substantial. full review

Bill Goodykoontz, Arizona Republic

Mr. Leigh has executed a richly exuberant entertainment for our troubled times, and deserves still another of my honorary Oscars for his astoundingly skillful effort. full review

Andrew Sarris, New York Observer

The British actress Sally Hawkins delivers a nervy, utterly captivating tour de force performance in Happy-Go-Lucky, Mike Leigh's transporting new film. full review

Ann Hornaday, Washington Post

Coming from the man who made his name as a director of often grim social-realist films such as Vera Drake, All or Nothing and Secrets & Lies, Mike Leigh's Happy-Go-Lucky strikes one as a film fantasy. full review

Susan Walker, Toronto Star

Happy-Go-Lucky isn't one of Leigh's epic social canvases like Secrets & Lies or even Topsy-Turvy; rather, it's an edgy character study whose message only gradually emerges. full review

Ty Burr, Boston Globe

As refreshing as it is to find a movie that leaves you smiling, it's something much rarer to discover a film that makes you think about what a commitment to happiness really means. full review

Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail

Oddball and ingenious. full review

Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer

It's a small, radiant gem in a movie season cluttered with rhinestones. You leave the theater feeling both clearheaded and buoyant. full review

Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor

It is a decidedly clear-eyed exploration of the challenges of being happy. And, as such, it's both an enjoyable comedy and a fascinating character study. full review

Claudia Puig, USA Today

The key to enjoying the film, a minor effort by Leigh, is warming up to Poppy. Her bubbly personality may be too much for some. She's like a walking, talking smiley face. full review

Ruthe Stein, San Francisco Chronicle

A picture so seemingly light that it might be hours (or even days) before you realize how deep and rich it really is. full review

Stephanie Zacharek, Salon.com

No list of the year's best performances should be made without [Sally Hawkins].

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

Happy-Go-Lucky ultimately charms -- just like its dizzy, disarming heroine. full review

Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger
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