Happy-Go-Lucky is the newest film from director Mike Leigh (Vera Drake, Secrets & Lies). It’s the story of Poppy, a perpetually upbeat woman confronting and trying to help the cynical world around her.

“You can’t make everybody happy,” a friend remarks.

“No harm in trying,” is her optimistic reply.

Sally Hawkins plays Poppy to perfection. It is such an infectious performance that I challenge you to see the film and not fall in love with her.

At the very least, I expect that she’ll make you smile. I’m reminded of Audrey Tautou’s performance in Amélie. Happy-Go-Lucky is reminiscent of that whimsical film but grounded in reality.

Leigh proves once again that a film’s best special effects are the performances that bring it to life.

Grade: A

Happy-Go-Lucky releases in select theaters Oct.