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Emma Thompson on Sally Hawkins in ‘Happy-Go-Lucky’

Actors champion fellow colleagues in 2008 performances

It’s a remarkable piece of work by Sally Hawkins, because the Poppy character is so fascinatingly irritating. You want to grind a spoon in your eyes, and then you sit and watch the absolute goodness of this heroic girl, and it starts to work itself way into your soul. It is such a great coup by Mike Leigh. It’s hard to listen to that voice, it is hard. That’s what he meant it to be — hard — and then he meant you to slowly go, “Oh my God, I’m actually watching a saint!” We know what it takes to be a male hero. The big number. But what is the nature of the female heroine? It has to do with the detail of the small actions that occur over a long, long period of time, rather than the grand gesture. “Happy-Go-Lucky” is the incarnation of that idea.

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