DVD Rating: ***

Reviewed by: Adam Micklethwaite

Read Jeff Robson's film review of Happy-Go-Lucky

This DVD includes two special features besides the trailer. First of all, there is Behind The Wheel, which focuses upon the driving lesson sequences in the film and the relationship between the carefree, vivacious Poppy (Sally Hawkins) and her antithesis, the uptight, bigoted and misanthropic Scott (Eddie Marsan). I found this to be an insightful and well-constructed feature, which sensibly focuses upon the two most important characters in the film, whilst simultaneously providing an intriguing look “behind the scenes” for those of us interested in the film’s composition. I was intrigued to learn that the driving sequences had all been shot with Hawkins actually behind the wheel and Mike Leigh crammed in the back, eagerly filming the exceptionally sharp improvised dialogue and humorous banter between the two comically mismatched leads.

The Mike Leigh Character featurette was presented as a selection of talking heads, including Leigh, Hawkins, Marsan and Alexis Zegermann,who plays Poppy's flatmate, interlaced with illustrative clips from the film. I was less impressed with this, since, at more than 27 minutes, it seemed overlong and lacking in focus and was occasionally repetitive. It seemed to cover much of the ground already discussed in Behind The Wheel, focussing too heavily on Poppy and Scott, with too little time devoted to the film’s cross-section of minor characters who, though less central to the film’s message, still play an important part in Leigh’s social portrait. In spite of its flaws and a self-congratulatory tone we’ve come to expect from this kind of feature, it did provide a worthwhile overview of the genesis of the story and the process of forging the characters. It also has a couple of real descriptive gems thrown in for good measure. Take, for example, Marsan’s description of Poppy as a "laughing Buddha", an interpretation of her character which seems to me to perfectly encapsulate the accessible charm and likeability of our happy-go-lucky heroine.

Copy picture Reviewed on: 21 Aug 2008
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Happy-Go-Lucky packshot
Poppy, a young primary school teacher living in Camden Town, starts taking driving lessons with an instructor who is her opposite in every respect.
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Product Code: MP834D

Region: 2

Sound: Dolby Digital

Extras: Behind The Wheel featurette; Mike Leigh's Character featurette; trailer

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