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Stars: Sally Hawkins, Eddie Marsan. Alexis Zegerman, Andrea Riseborough, Kate O'Flynn, Samuel Roukin

Director: Mike Leigh

Poppy (Hawkins), a primary school teacher, is what you would call a laugh. A colourful, carefree soul who's always joking, she will either annoy or beguile you. Even when her beloved bike is stolen, Poppy takes it in her stride.

She decides to take driving lessons and tells her flatmate Zoe (Zegerman) that the No Overtaking sign means 'Mr Golly overtakes Mr Noddy'. Such banter doesn't go down well with Scott the driving instructor (Marsan), an uptight individual in need of psychiatric help or anger management counselling - probably both.

Poppy, however, continues undaunted, even in the face of her hyper-tense pregnant sister, who's sure Poppy must be miserable and reacts badly when Poppy tells her that 'I am happy. I love my life.'

You can see that shadows are moving across the scenario here and, after Poppy's edgy encounter with a tramp (Stanley Towenend), Leigh lets his generally breezy story get a bit too serious towards the end when the driving instructor implodes, the director barely managing to right the ship with an upbeat final scene.

David Quinlan

UK 2007. UK Distributor: Momentum Pictures. Colour by deluxe.
118 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 13 Apr 2008