Happy-Go-Lucky won the award for Best Actress at the Berlinale last
February – and for a very good reason: in it, Sally Hawkins gives a
peppery but heart-melting and sensitive performance that must rank
among the very best in the history of cinema. She plays Sally, a
thirty-something single woman, whose world is simply filled with
sunshine. Misfortunes fail to depress her, and the negative sides of
her fellow human beings seem to be invisible to this lady, although
this isn’t always for the best.
Happy-Go-Lucky is, in many
ways, a highly typical Mike Leigh film, and like many of its
predecessors, it was partially improvised during shooting. It is,
however, also a very remarkable film for the director known for his
examinations into the darker sides of our everyday lives: this time the
squalor remains in the background with not a hint of dramatic
underlining in sight. For the first time Leigh has directed a fresh,
elegant, all-out comedy.