Happy-Go-Lucky (2008) Movie Review

2008 was one of the most interesting years in film history given the wide variety of films released that particular year. Examples include the superhero classic The Dark Knight, the box office smash hit Mamma Mia!, and the crowd-pleasing “Best Picture” winner Slumdog Millionaire. A film might be successful if it features major stars (like Meryl Streep) and/or if it looks beautiful aesthetically, but one of the most important aspects of a movie is its screenplay. That is probably why Happy-Go-Lucky is such an interesting film from 2008 because it is such a charming and delightful motion picture that definitely lives up to its title.

A Toast!

Besides the brilliant Oscar-nominated screenplay, this film features colorfully modern costumes from Jacqueline Durran as well as a phenomenal Golden Globe-winning performance from Sally Hawkins. It is a real shame that she failed to receive an Oscar nomination for this performance given the stiff competition from other films in 2008. Hawkins brings a sweet and innocent demeanor to her character that makes Poppy’s naivete somewhat justifiable even though some might perceive her to be “too cheerful.” (It is almost as if Poppy suffers from excessive levity at certain points.) Mike Leigh is such a great director and screenwriter since this film can teach audiences to enjoy life instead of taking life too seriously. That is a great life lesson to learn given the stress that most people face on the daily basis, and maybe people can display optimism rather than wallow in pessimism from Poppy’s pluckiness.


Happy-Go-Lucky is one of the most underrated films of 2008. It might have been hugely ignored at the Academy Awards, but at least it was recognized at the Golden Globes that same year. Sally Hawkins delivers what is perhaps her greatest comedic performance in her career in this film (as of 2019), especially she received acclaim and nominations for her dramatic roles in Blue Jasmine (2013) and The Shape of Water (2017). Life is too short to be sad and angry anyways, so why not just be happy and feel lucky to be alive? (pun intended).

Happy-Go-Lucky (2008) Bonus Drinking Game

Take a Drink: every time Poppy’s cheerfulness exasperates anyone

Drink a Shot: every time Scott says, “En-ra-ha!”

And Cheers: if Poppy’s outlook on life makes audiences re-examine what it means to be truly happy

About Alex Phuong

Alex Andy Phuong earned his Bachelor of Arts in English from California State University-Los Angeles in 2015. His love affair with cinema began after discovering Turner Classic Movies in the summer of 2004. His favorite film director is Woody Allen, and his favorite movie star is Kate Winslet.

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