November 15, 2008

Happy-Go-Lucky


This movie is wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.

Mike Leigh has done something rare: made a highly intelligent film about a truly good person -without involving them in tragedy, suspense, or cliche plot device. The film is about a good person. That's the plot, the style; the whole shibang. You just follow this remarkably good woman around for a couple hours. That's it. But it's fucking profound. The moral/philosophic ramifications of watching this utterly believable character interact with other people is the kind of thing that could change the life of someone who is open to it.

Acting, directing, music, editing, cinematography -they're all top-notch. It's not inaccessible either. You don't have to be a cinephile like me to love it. I can't imagine any sensible person not loving the hell out of it. Did I mention that it's hilarious?

So yeah, now you know what I think of this film. I liked it so much that afterwards I celebrated by getting royally trashed at a bar called Grumpy's. At some point I remember running down the street hollering "I'm from Alberta!" while my friend threw up on a very small tree.

It's not a perfect movie mind you, but as Tarkovsky said of Dostoevsky, sometimes the flaws only make the work stronger.
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I've spent several years thinking of film style and content as pretty separatable things. I'm beginning to lean away from that. To some degree I have Mike Leigh's films to thank for my changing opinion.

You should watch Mike Leigh's Naked (I think it's creeping into my top ten or twenty favourites) and his palm d'or winner Secrets & Lies. Also, a friend of mine with impeccable taste (read: he likes and dislikes the same things as me) assures me that Career Girls is amazing too.
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I also watched Joris Ivens' gorgeous 1941 documentary Power and the Land this week. I can't recommend it highly enough.
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NOTE: Please read and contribute to the comments in the Nick Cave entry. I want to hear your stories about rock music.

1 comment:

Wazberto D. said...

I also loved Happy-Go-Lucky. The script and acting are incredible.