'Lucy in the Sky' Film Review
Community

'Lucy in the Sky' Film Review

Noah Hawley's directorial debut touches the lightest amount on its real-world material and comes out dull

20
Photo Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures, YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQP-L2pJzmk

For those of you want to play smart with me, no...'Lucy in the Sky' is not a sequel to 'Yesterday' where Natalie Portman wakes up and is the only person who remembers the Beatles. That would sound ridiculous, right?

Jokes aside, I'll be honest that I wasn't that excited for this movie. Don't get me wrong, the cast looked fantastic and I thought the first trailer looked intriguing, but the fact that the film was inspired by, but also distancing itself as much as possible from, the true events of astronaut Lisa Nowak left a bit of hesitancy going into this. On top of that, I haven't been the biggest Noah Hawley fan over the years. Granted, I haven't seen his 'Fargo' series yet, but his work on 'Legion' has been so hit-and-miss over the years that I just didn't know what kind of approach he could take to this.

But putting that all aside, what do we get with 'Lucy in the Sky?' Well to my disappointment, Noah Hawley has made a movie based on fascinating events worth exploring that wind up utterly boring and over directed. For as talented as that aforementioned cast are, 'Lucy in the Sky' relies way too much on showing us our titular protagonists "mind-blown" state without giving us the proper context to view her as properly fleshed out, and in a sense of misdirected blame that feels like a drag to get through.

Lucy Cola (played by Natalie Portman) is an astronaut who just came back from a mission at the International Space Station. Her husband, Drew (played by Dan Stevens) is excited to see her again, as is Lucy's nephew Iris (played by Pearl Amanda Dickson), who was left with the couple by Lucy's absentee brother. Lucy's mission in space has left her with a newfound appreciation for space life, and so she begins to dedicate her mind and body to going on the next flight up. She meets Mark Goodwin (played by John Hamm), an astronaut who is also aiming for a return trip and quickly forms a friendship with him through their shared experience.

The situation begins to escalate as Lucy's new priorities seem to affect her returned life on Earth. She begins an affair with Mark, and begins to suspect he may be having a second affair with rookie astronaut Erin Eccles (played by Zazie Beatz). As she becomes more detached from reality and her own family, Lucy begins a downward spiral that threatens to cease any chances of her returning to space.

For the messy result we get in 'Lucy in the Sky,' I don't necessarily think that Natalie Portman is to blame. She still makes some rather odd decisions as a performer, but they're also balanced by some very interesting notions as well. She has to carry a lot of the overtly-transcendence pacing on her characters shoulders. It's nowhere near a Jackie or Black Swan performance, but I admired the effort to get us as an audience to believe in Lucy's journey.

I think the bigger issue is that almost no one gets out of this movie with a great performance. Jon Hamm is playing in the sort of charmingly, sleazy vain he's done before, albeit this time around with a character who is written as spending his free time watching the Challenger disaster on repeat - lovely. Dan Stevens, for the range he gets utilize on Hawley's Legion, is reduced to a caricature of naive husband tropes. Zazie Beatz is once again reduced to a pale imitation for a love interest, and between this and Joker, I'm wondering if any directors have actually seen what she can do as a performer, because this is starting to get aggravating.

The one saving grace I found was Lucy's mother, Nana (played by Ellen Burstyn), who I swear is my favorite thing about this movie. It's not a comedy, nor should it be, but Burstyn imbues a sense of nonchalant dry humor that, I think if I counted, had me laughing almost every time she opened her mouth. Yeah, a drama about mental health and the scale of the universe, and my favorite part was the joking grandmother, what does that tell you?

'Lucy in the Sky' suffers greatest from Noah Hawley himself, who hat makes it so infuriating is that Hawley will put Lucy in positions to be able to actually help her work through her spirals, whether with family, friends, or an actual NASA therapist (played by Nick Offerman), but instead of allowing Lucy to deflect those on her own, Noah Hawley seems more interested in giving us an abundance of aspect ratio variations (because her mind is constantly in flux) and and overhead shots (because she still feels like she belongs in space, GET IT!?!)

It's overly concerned with showing us everything except for what our main character is actually going through on Earth. It feels as stuck in the stars as Lucy is, which is fine from a visual perspective, but when you get down to utilizing those visual cues, there's no baseline for us to get attached to. Hawley doesn't care who Lucy was before she went into space, he only cares that she's slipping, and it starts to feel more like an exposé than it does an exploration.

I think I'd be angrier at 'Lucy in the Sky' if I wasn't so bored by it. It's not the worst movie I've seen this year, but it does rank up one of the messier ones I've seen, with a promising director turning to arthouse nonsense to convince us to care for a character we should be inherently caring for.

I don't even think I can recommend this to Noah Hawley fans, as his work on Legion, for all of its shortcomings, at least feels distinct and a fine fit for his preferences. Go read Lisa Nowak's actual story, that's a fascinating read if you want these ideas explored a bit more. This is just a film that tries to give a portrayal into fascinating events, while never giving the human beings within those events the proper development for a story like this.

Overall, I give "Lucy in the Sky" 4/10

____________________________________________

Want to follow me on social media? Follow me on Twitter and IG @TheMovieKing45

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Lifestyle

13 Books About Race Absolutely Every American Should Read, Especially Now

Books about black lives, from classics to new must-reads.

It's likely you are seeing the current state of the world and wanting to do something about it. Whether you're only beginning to or wanting to deepen your understanding of the black experience, these books are precisely where to start.

Some, like Maya Angelou's "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, are classics you've probably heard of, but may not have picked up yet. Others, like Reni Eddo-Lodge's "Why I'm No Longer Talking To White People About Race," are newer hits.

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

What's Coming To And Leaving Netflix In June For Your Summer Viewing Pleasure

Just in time for another your summer binge-watch list.

Paramount Pictures

The first of the month is now here, which means we will be losing some of our Netflix favorites but gaining some new ones.

Here is a list of TV shows and movies we will be losing and gaining on Netflix during June.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

I Was At The Atlanta George Floyd Protests, Here's What It Was Like Before The Violence Started

What started out as a peaceful protest quickly resulted in destruction, with mixed opinions leading narratives on both sides.

When I heard about the protests happening in my city in honor of George Floyd, a black man who was brutally and fatally detained by police in broad daylight, I was conflicted about the best way for me to support a cause that I was passionate about. The senseless killings of people of color in America had been weighing on me, and I was eager for a way to help, to do my part. I wanted to be out on the ground with my community, having our voices heard. However, there was the issue of the coronavirus, a very real and troublesome threat that is still controlling our daily lives.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

If You Can Eat Crap And Stay Thin You Aren't Healthy, You're Lucky

A high metabolism isn't a get-out-of-jail-free card!

Photo by Tarutoa on Unsplash

Everyone has that one friend — the one who eats to their heart's content but never gains an ounce. Meanwhile, you feel like you gain five pounds just stealing a glance at a hamburger! My childhood best friend was like that, much to my chagrin. Anyone who hadn't witnessed her eat might be tempted to say that she was thin because of her diet, but she would sometimes eat a bag of Sour Patch Kids as a "meal." One time, I watched in awe as she chowed down on a "salad" made up of one part romaine lettuce, two parts shredded cheddar cheese, and two parts French dressing — it was nothing more than a red lake of dressing with bits of green and orange debris floating in it. Clearly our definitions of "salad" were quite different, as were our perceptions of a balanced meal.

Keep Reading... Show less
Swoon

I Started Dating A Guy Before Quarantine, But Now We Rarely Speak Unless I Double-Text

"He's really nice and cute and I like being around him when we see each other, but he's awful at communication."

Each week Swoonie B will give her advice on anonymous topics submitted by readers. Want to Ask Swoonie B something related to dating and relationships? Fill out this form here — it's anonymous.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

This Is Exactly What You Should Eat Today In Quarantine, Based On Your Zodiac Sign

You've probably been eating it the past three months,

If we added up all the minutes of my life I've stood in front of the fridge or pantry mindlessly glazing over options, it would probably amount to several years longer than I'd care to admit.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

If You Don't Think People Are Legitimately Scared To Stay In Lockdown, Think Again

People are terrified of what could happen if states stay in lockdown too long.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to be the topic of discussion for most U.S. residents. From federal reopening guidelines to individual state timelines, the country is all over the place. This sparks conversations within the news, social media, and in family homes about the consequences of reopening the country incorrectly.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments