I almost cared about the Academy Awards last year. There were so many great movies up: No Country for Old Men, There Will Be Blood, Persepolis, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. This year it's back to indifference as usual, with poor Oscar courted by a gloomy procession of dreary, self-important films (although, gosh, I've seen neither The Reader nor Revolutionary Road....). Doubt, Frost/Nixon, the ridiculous The Curious Case of Benjamin Button—after seeing a few of these in close succession, I was starting to worry I'd forgotten how to enjoy the cinema. (Last Chance Harvey did not help.)
But then I caught Happy Go Lucky at the Laurelhurst last night, and all is well. Capacity for enjoyment=intact.
I was a bit worried that Mike Leigh's film about a relentlessly cheerful 30-yr-old teacher would be a quirk fest starring a British Manic Pixie Dream Girl—some wacky, ditzy, "OMG she's so crazy and adorable!!" protagonist. But what's impressive about Happy Go Lucky is that while the main character, Poppy, is unusually upbeat, she's also a grownup—she's got a job, deep relationships with her friends and family, and generally good judgment. And when her racist, crazy driving instructor tests her good humor, the scene doesn't unfold in the way you'd expect.
The film is really intelligently written—Poppy's relationships with her friends ring particularly true. (I saw it with my best friend since grade school, and we agreed that it's an unusually honest and affectionate depiction of female friendship.) And it is, swear-to-god, life affirming. And funny. Did I mention funny? It's funny. Go see it. It's at the Laurelhurst. See it. Do it.