2 Dec 2014

MANIC PIXIE DREAM GIRL - Happy-Go-Lucky (2008)

Looking at the Rules that film genres follow or don't... like films a Manic Pixie Dream Girl.

"You keep on rowin', and I'll keep on smilin'" ~ Poppy.

Happy-Go-Lucky (2008) - Is a character study of a MPDG and not the story of a man who needs one to change his life.

The following may contain spoilers for

Happy-Go-Lucky (2008)


1a.  POV Character - Pauline or "Poppy," the MPDG, is the POV character completely negating this rule and the reason this film was added to the list (despite my vow never to watch it again.)  Scott the driving instructor is the main male character in the film, but not a love interest, Tim the social worker is a love interest but doesn't appear until over half way and really only once after that.
The Bechdel Test:  Lots of discussions with other women, for example: she discussion work, dinner, driving lessons and children today, etc with her flatmate Zoe.  Pass.
The Mako Mori Test:  She doesn't really have an arc, as the film is more a character study.  Fail - that said she's the center of the film which mains I'm ignoring this result.

1b.  Unhappy – Scott seems unhappy and angry.  Tim seems OK.

RULE #2 - T &A

When her back is being worked on Poppy is in her underwear, and some more underwear scenes leading up to and after sex later. About Rom-Com level nudity.


Happy-Go-Lucky isn't a Rom-Com.  The romance only appears late in the film and is hardly touched on.  The film is really a character study, so for once I'm not going to even try to apply the Rom Com rules.


4a.  Full of energy - Trampolining and flamenco for exercise.  Works with small children.

4b.  Full of contradictions
i.  Fun, but serious - Mostly hyperactive and hyper-friendly.  There's something under it, but it's never clear what.
ii.  Sexual/asexual - Single girl on the look out for a man, sex on the first date
iii.  Romantic/shunning romance – Wants romance.
iv.  Honest & open/hiding a secret - Seems to be all surface.
v.  Smart/ditsy – Not dumb, but only shows surface and has difficulty with some social cues.

4c.  Carefree - Seemingly.

4d.  Quirky -  Certainly.  Loved her bike as a person, sees beauty in average even ugly things.

4e.  Unusual Things.
i.  Clothing – All sorts of loose clothing, hanging jewelry and .
ii.  Transport - Had a pushbike (very MPDG), but it was stolen.  Had to get driving lessons 
iii.  House – Sharing with a friend and fellow teacher.  Doesn't want a mortgage.
iv.  Job – A teacher of young children.  Very MPDG.


5a.  Tiny - Yes, especially compared to Tom.
5b.  Cute features - Almost.
5c.  Girlish - Yes.
5d.  Clothing - Loose and bright.

6a.  Dream Girl - There's no one's POV for her to be a dream-girl from.
6b.  Dream-like - Says of the book "Road to Reality": "Don't want to be going there."


7a.  Female - Yes.
7b.  Girlish - Yes.


There is no specific "he."  However, she does attempt to force herself into the lives (or at the very least into a conversation they don't want with a variety of people.  Although, to be fair, she talks to herself.  A lot.
  • Bookshop Assistant - attempted to engage him in small talk when he continually blanked her kept commenting about it.
  • Scott, the driving instructor - is "a little bit uptight" and "a bit of a nutter" since she's just getting driving lessons from him, she doesn't force herself into his life, but he does become obsessed with her.  Despite his anger issues, racism and creepily watching her house she doesn't ask for another instructor, until he has a complete breakdown during a lesson.
  • A tramp - she finds and talks to a tramp despite her obvious fear of him and his disconnection with reality.
  • Tim, the social worker - Go on a legitimate date, so no forcing into his life there.
The two major characters Scott and Tim she doesn't really force herself into the life of (although Scott things she did) and the minor ones, although she tried to make them happy by forcing herself into their world it was a brief thing.  This film is about her not a him.


She doesn't really seem to have a secret.  Or rather, if she does the film doesn't disclose it.


It ends with her talking on the phone to her boyfriend, seemingly happy, so a soft HEA ending.  It's immediately after her and her flatmate discussing the fact you can't make everyone happy (be it won't stop Poppy trying) that growing up is hard but they should do it eventually (this at 30) which is vaguely bittersweet.


Rules followed by this film: 2, 4, 5, 7, 8.
Rules partially followed by this film: 3, 6, 10.
Rules not followed by this film: 1, 8, 9.

Mostly follows the film rules, even though it's not about a man meeting a MPDG.  This shows that it is possible.

~ DUG.

Remember to vote here to help choose the fifth set of rules to be tested.

No comments:

Post a Comment