British director, Mike Leigh, of Topsy-Turvy and Secrets and Lies fame (also, some you may not have heard of—Vera Drake, Naked, High Hopes and Life is Sweet to name a few) presents a surprisingly rich film of free-wheeling joy.
In the character of Poppy, Sally Hawkins (who won a Golden Globe for her role) brings to life a young woman who is guileless in the extreme. She sees the good in everything, or at least can take the good with the bad without complaining. When, in the early frames of the film, her bicycle is stolen, her reaction is not the typical anger or bitter feeling that most of us would experience; she laughs it off and makes the best of things.
Poppy’s life is simple: she’s a primary school teacher by day, a bit of a partier by night and a seeker of happiness 24-7. After work, she spends her time playfully bouncing on a trampoline and experiments with Flamenco dancing for the sheer fun of it. Poppy doesn’t have a boyfriend, but does that bother her? No way!
Poppy is intent on getting her driver’s license. In the act of so doing, she encounters her extreme opposite in the form of Scott, a bitter and twisted, angry young man who is running a driving school. His character serves to spotlight just how much of a breath of fresh air, is Poppy.
Poppy loves everybody. She is devoted to her best friend and room-mate, Zoe and her own slightly less happy sister, Suzy. She even goes out of her way to try and bring some joy to fractured souls.
When she embarks on a romantic relationship, Poppy is free-spirited and casual, but her feelings come across in a sweet and charming way not often seen on the screen.
Poppy is not your usual sort of young woman, but we can only hope that there are women like her out there who really do exist. If I can somehow incorporate some of the elements of Poppy’s character into my own, I’ll be doing well. I wish the world had more “Poppys”.
Do yourself a favour and watch this quirky, unexpected, sometimes challenging little film. I defy you not to have a smile on your face, if not immediately following, maybe a day or two later…after the pixie dust settles. (I know I’ll be watching it again very soon myself.)
Please enjoy this little trailer I found: