Both films feature characters who, despite encountering injustice and malice in their daily lives, interpret and respond to their environments through the primary filter of rose-tinted, glass-half-full optimism.
Such wholehearted and consistent positivity requires explanation: are these people fools or role models? Is their outlook a function of transcendence, determination, or limited apprehension? “Happy-Go-Lucky” addresses these questions more directly than “The Castle.” But, to answer the philosophical issues at the core of their stories, both films must make uncomfortable compromises that turn out to be mirror images of each other. One ends up flattering its audience by patronizing its characters, while the other flatters its heroine as it patronizes its viewers.
For a marathon: The heroines of “Party Girl” and “Happy-Go-Lucky” have so much in common that they would either become fast friends or instantly hate each other. Both will resort to almost anything to make their moods infectious…which makes you wonder whose combination of will, energy, and social resources would predominate in a face-off of conflicting emotions.
(Creative Commons licensed original images courtesy of “Morydd” and “Here’s Kate” at Flickr)