17 January 2009


A feel-good comedy for everyone, Happy-Go-Lucky is just a perfect film for those who think they have a bad day. Poppy, the protagonist, is exactly what the film title says. She is just happy. But what is interesting in the film is that her happiness and positive attitude are constantly tested by everyday happenings. Her bike is stolen, some people stare at her, her driving instructor thinks she's stupid, and a shop assistant refuses to talk to her.

Somehow the film makes me realise that it's so hard to be happy in contemporary society. In order to survive in this 'liveless' society, people naturally put up barriers, as part of their self-defence mechanism and this mechanism in turn exacerbates the hellish condition of the city. Poppy, probably recognising this, refuses to act like other people. She just shines and people's reactions don't deter her from continuing to be simply nice and pleasant.

However, one can't ignore the fact that she's quite lucky. She's got good friends, especially Zoe, who can lend her a shoulder to cry on, a good relationships with friends at work, and a good boyfriend. Perhaps this is the bare necessities for one to be nice. If she's got no one to start with, one wonders whether Poppy will have this attitude. But of course one can't deny that with this happy-go-lucky attitude people are naturally attracted to her. I, for one, don't like her at the beginning of the film, finding her pretty annoying and loud, but towards the end I just can't help falling in love with her and just wish that the world should be populated by more people like her.

The scene where she refuses to let Scott, the driving instructor, drive his car (the role marvellously played by Eddie Marsan, shows that Poppy's positive attitude is not just mindless cheerfulness, but a carefully thought out one. She wills herself to be that way so that people around her can be more cheerful and nice to each other. But of course this can be easily misinterpreted, as Scott thinks that she tries to lure him through what he thinks is female guile. Another scene that is worth mentioning is her strange encounter with a homeless guy. With her response 'I know', one can't help but wonder how much she does know. But it is my personal belief that she actually knows what is going on.

Now, with all these reflections in mind, I just think that if there're real people who think like Poppy, I should like to applaud them. The reason is because these people know sorrow only too well and are very sensitive to what is going on in the world. They are, in other words, receptive to the evils that are happening in the world. It's likely that this kind of people will suffer from mental illnesses more than ordinary people. One of the mechanisms to prevent these illnesses is of course to sport a happy-go-lucky attitude. But soon enough realisation and depression will come in through back doors and they'll end up in hospital beds faster than 'normal' people who are so cold and indifferent.

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