Mike Leigh follows 2004's melancholic Vera Drake with a whimsical comedy that chronicles a few weeks in the life of Poppy (Sally Hawkins), a schoolteacher who confronts every obstacle in her life (a stolen bike, a scornful driving instructor) with eternal optimism. Between laughs, Leigh still manages to squeeze in some of his patented social commentary. ''For me, we're making a kind of anti-miserabilist film, because we live in tough times and it's easy to be down about many things, about what we're doing to people in the world,'' Leigh says. ''It's a love letter to life.''
OUR TWO CENTS This is Leigh's sunniest film since Topsy-Turvy, with a performance by Hawkins that won her a prize at the Berlin Film Festival. 10/10