Happy Go Lucky DVD Review

Cover Art and Menus: 5/10
The cover is horrible. This scene isn’t even in the movie and it reminds me of some bad after school special. Such a shame to wrap an excellent film in such a rubbish package. The menu is kind of fun with a cut and past crafty kind of vibe. I just can’t excuse the horrible choice of cover art.

Features: 5/10

  • Behind The Wheel Of Happy Go Lucky – This film has several scenes played out in a moving car driven by the leading actors. This extra shows how they got so many cameras in that small car so they could use a real car driven on the real mean streets of London.
  • Happy In Character – People talking about people, that’s what this extra is. The director loves the cast. The cast loves the director. The characters are wonderful. The script is amazing. You get the idea. It is quite a long series of interviews and film clips from making the movie, so they get points for the size of the matter.
  • Audio Commentary By Director Mike Leigh –This guy is great to listen to, so I recommend watching again to hear his perspective scene by scene.

The Movie: 8/10
You know those people, the ones who seem to laugh off everything in life. They try to cheer you up with stupid jokes, giggling, and saying annoying things like “It’s all good”. Ugh, I really am not a fan of that chirpy attitude. I’ not negative, but I’m not into the obnoxious fake happiness either.

What would the world be like without them? I’m not afraid to say it would suck. That’s the thing about Happy Go Lucky. As a story about a woman who shows the smile, the cracking jokes, the giggling, the apparent shallow view of the world I had that initial fear of being uncontrollably irritated. I wasn’t.

This story is about more than just the happy go lucky facade some people show the world. For me it’s about how that world tries at every opportunity to squash those “good vibes” or that positivity out of people. I said before that I’m not a happy happy smiley kind of chick, fair enough. The thing is, I can’t stomach the wretched negativity some people wallow in all the time. I suppose that leaves me in the middle. This film, these characters, bring it to the front of my mind just where I fit into this whole scale of misery vs. happy go lucky.

Poppy is the cheery giggle 30 year old who bubbles around daily life with a look of bewilderment on her face, happy face whatever comes around the next corner. Michael is the driving instructor who is her polar opposite. He is paranoid, hateful, cynical, miserable and looking for more misery around every corner. When Poppy and he are in the car together we get the distilled best and worst of each of their life philosophies.

I see the instructor representing the world, trying to knock the smile off Poppy’s face, and in essence making the world a more dark place. Poppy resists and even taunts him somewhat with her need to get everyone to lighten up. It’s fascinating to watch and their performances are, if I had to pick one work, fantastic. They each sum up their respective character’s personality precicely and I could see real people I have met in both of them.

There are moments that are terrifying, but not in the traditional sense. Just thinking that people harbor such hatred and backward ideals still in the 21st century is harrowing really. Ignorance will never die, unfortunately. The need for some people to lash out, because  from their perspective, it’s the only way to cope with the negativity in their own lives…it’s a never ending cycle that this slice-of-life film illustrates beautifully.

The look of the film is simply independant, if I may be so bold. I know it’s not a truly independant movie, but we can all agree that some movies look more natural and less produced (in a good way) than others because they are not beholden to one studio or group of upper management moneybags to follow a specific formula. That’s what I consider independent. Add the British sensibilities, to an already universal human state of mind kind of groove and it’s a pure pleasure to watch and enjoy.

I put Happy Go Lucky on my short list of “would watch again”, so we all know that’s a good thing:)

Audio & Video: 6/10
Not a lot to say about this bare bones DVD release. The movie is quite colorful and this translates well in the clean looking transfer. It is mostly dialog driven and I did not notice any surround action the entire movie. The DVD is functional, but not the best presentation you will ever see.

Value: 7/10
As for the movie, it’s definitely worth a rental or even adding it to my collection when the price goes down a bit. I know it’s a small movie, independent release, etc. The thing is, the DVD package as a whole doesn’t scream at me to spend more than, oh say, $15.00. The online price is around and over twenty bucks. Drop it ever-so-slightly folks, and I’m on my way to get my debit card:)

Overall Score 8/10