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(aka 'Happy Go Lucky ' or 'Untitled Mike Leigh Project')

Directed by Mike Leigh
UK 2008


This is Mike Leigh's funniest film since "Life Is Sweet" (1991). Of course he hasn't ever made a completely funny film, and "Happy-Go-Lucky" has scenes that are not funny, not at all. There are always undercurrents and oddness. His films feel as if they're spontaneously unfolding; he has a vision of his characters that is only gradually revealed. He almost always finds remarkable performances, partly because he casts actors, not stars, and partly because he and the actors rehearse for weeks, tilting the dialogue this way and that, contriving back stories, finding out where the characters came from before the movie began, predicting where they will go after it's over.

I had seen Sally Hawkins in movies before. She was the rich girl who went to the private clinic in "Vera Drake." No role could be more different than Poppy. Leigh, who spent years working for the stage, was able to imagine her as Poppy, a role very few women could play. Maybe Meryl Streep could sustain that level of merriness, but then what can't she do?

Excerpt from Roger Ebert at the Chicago Sun-Times located HERE


Theatrical Release: February 12th, 2008 - Berlin Film Festival

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DVD Review: MiraMax - Region 1 - NTSC

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Distribution MiraMax - Region 1 - NTSC
Runtime 1:58:24 
Video 2.35.33:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 8.4 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s   
Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0) 
Subtitles English (SDH), Spanish, None

Release Information:
Studio: MiraMax

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1

Edition Details:

• Audio Commentary by Mike Leigh
• "Behind the Wheel of Happy-Go-Lucky" (4:27)
• "Happy-In-Character" (27:15)
• Previews

DVD Release Date: March 10th, 2009

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Chapters: 16



The MiraMax dual-layered DVD image looks strong. Colors are bright, detail is very good and artifacts are at a minimum. The transfer is anamorphic and progressive in the NTSC standard for region 1. I am satisfied that this is a healthy representation of the theatrical visuals. For SD it is quite impressive.

Audio is only 2.0 channel but to be fair the film is almost solely dialogue driven devoid of surround effects in the mix. There are large gaudy yellow subtitles (see sample) which may be of use as the Brit accents can be heavy and the pace is lightening-quick at times.

Extras include a commentary from Leigh - it has its share of gaps as he appears to be simply enjoying the film. Some production information is imparted but this is not an enthusiastic in-depth discussion of the film. Along with previews there are two featurettes "Behind the Wheel of Happy-Go-Lucky" is less than 5 minutes with input from Eddie Marsan and a 1/2 hour piece on "Happy-In-Character" with Sally Hawkins and Leigh involved.

The film is all Sally Hawkins and it is brilliantly amusing, warm and positive with terrific, fast-paced, dialogue. I watched it twice and could easily go for a third helping. This is one of my favorite Leigh films at the moment - and that is saying a lot. The DVD seems to do its job well and there are viable supplements. This is a very likable film. Recommended! 

Gary W. Tooze


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Distribution MiraMax - Region 1 - NTSC


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