Friday, November 22, 2013


Written & Directed By: Mike Leigh 
Cinematography By: Dick Pope 
Editor: Jim Clark 

Cast: Sally Hawkins, Eddie Marsan, Andrea Riseborough, Alexis Zegerman

Poppy Cross is happy-go-lucky. At 30, she lives in Camden: cheeky, playful, frank while funny, and talkative to strangers. She's a conscientious and exuberant primary-school teacher, flatmates with Zoe, her long-time friend; she's close to one sister, and not so close to another. In this slice of life story, we watch her take driving lessons from Scott, a dour and tightly-wound instructor, take classes in flamenco dance from a fiery Spaniard, encounter a tramp in the night, and sort out a student's aggressive behavior with a social worker's help. Along the way, we wonder if her open attitude puts her at risk of misunderstanding or worse. What is the root of happiness?

This film has no real storyline. It seems to be more of a character study mainly of the leading character named poppy.

Nothing in particular special happens. It's like watching a normal person going about thier day, but it is never boring. Sort of like a docudrama with more humor.

The film has a certain charm, It's like a studio version of a character study. Where it stays entertaining enough between dramatic scenes and character building exercises

The film is colorful and bright with an upbeat score and winning performance, where the downside of reality never enters into the equation.

This is probably one of the most accessible and light hearted films of Mike Leigh. It's more upbeat, yet still the same in the manner of character and dialogue.

I love Sally Hawkins and the way her character always had a reaction or something to say to counter whoever she was talking to had to say or what situation she found herself in no matter how awkward.

When you are watching a mike Leigh film, you know you are watching one. A true mark of an auteur. Once someone asked him of he had a desire to make an American film or work with an American star and his simple answer was no.

I'm not one of the biggest Mike Leigh fans, but I respect him and find his film interesting. If not from a visual standpoint, then to discuss the films and their material. They are like watching plays written by the characters themselves that has a wider view and more locations.

The only other Character who really makes a impression is Eddie Marsan as her driving instructor. Now I have seen him in countless other films and in each he plays a different type of Character. Here he plays a loud, overbearing, racist Other times I have seen him play quietly shy, henpecked like in Vera drake or Over the top Abusive like in TYRANASAUR. He is one to keep your eyes on as a performer.

Which also brings to mind what makes a true auteur because there are some directors who constantly make good films in different genres, but the films look nothing alike, not do they have similar themes, but we consider the director has range, but we never label him an auteur where as we do if the director makes one of a kind films. That we can tell they are behind, but shares the same themes, style, action and actors. They look but don't show any range but yet we consider then master filmmaker is a nice contemporary look at a female character and her life in England.

 Grade: B-

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