Coming to theatres this Friday from director Noah Hawley and Fox Searchlight Pictures is the story of space and life when your feet are back on the ground for LUCY IN THE SKY.
Lucy (Natalie Portman) has just returned from an incredible experience in space. Getting back to life at home with husband Drew (Dan Stevens) and niece Blue (Pearl Dickson), Lucy also focuses on when she will have the opportunity to go up again. Working hard and training every chance she gets, Lucy realizes that just because she has been in space once doesn’t mean there aren’t others waiting in line.
She meets Mark Goodwin (Jon Hamm) who is also training to go into space. Mark tries to get Lucy to lighten up a little and join in the fun with other astronauts. Being very focused on the next mission, Lucy lets herself go for a moment and Drew is supportive.
Lucy finds herself in an awkward place when feelings rise up for Mark and a relationship begins. She also discovers who she is up against for the next seat into space, a very young Erin Eccles (Zazie Beetz). Encouraging her to remember what she wants is Nana Holbrook (Ellen Burstyn) who is the touchstone that Lucy keeps close.
As things become more serious, Lucy finds herself in a place she has never been before and her ability to handle it becomes jaded. What she wants and what she needs becomes blurred and Lucy becomes unable to express her anxiety. She pulls on the life thread and when things unravel, a side of her is set lose and there is no turning back.
Portman as Lucy is, unfortunately, flat and not fun to watch. There is this weird accent she is trying (I’m assuming she’s trying) and it just doesn’t work. What it does manage to do is annoy the living daylights out of me and bring me back to 2010 and another unhinged character in BLACK SWAN. There isn’t anything in this character that I mentally want to hold on to but in fact would have no problem cutting the cord to send it into another universe. Obviously I’m not thrilled to have spent two hours sitting in a theatre watching a hot mess when I could have been home watching Below Deck on Bravo.
Hamm as Mark is just a skuzzy user of women and there is nothing redeeming about him either. It doesn’t do anything for NASA’s image to have him re-play Garrett Breedlove from the 1983 film TERMS OF ENDEARMENT as another astronaut womanizer. The only difference between Lucy and Aurora Greenway I could watch on screen forever.
Beetz as Erin is side candy which is unfortunate. Playing the ‘women have to stick together’ card it actually turned into ‘women have to stick each other’ and it gets all messy and boring. Stevens as Drew gets the shaft in this story and I actually felt bad for the actor AND the character. Dickson as Blue just wants something more in her life instead of a crappy dad, an opinionated grandmother and an Aunt who can’t keep it together.
Burstyn as Nana Holbrook was under used in this film. Why do they continue to put these amazing actresses in roles that have bite and then take their teeth? Burstyn is an actress in every sense of the word and here she is stuck in a bed once again reliving her 2014 deathbed scene as the older Murph in INTERSTELLAR.
Other cast include Colman Domingo as Frank Paxton, Jeremiah Birkett as Hank Lumch, Jeffrey Donovan as Jim Hunt, Tig Notaro as Kate Mounier, Stella Edwards as Chelsea, Arlo Mertz as Emily, Tobias Schonleitner as Miles Henckle, and Diana DeLaCruz as Dr. Addison.
Okay, so a few weeks ago I sat through AD ASTRA and I wasn’t thrilled much by that film either. It had its moments and the cinematography was pretty cool. LUCY IN THE SKY just put AD ASTRA higher up on the scale of films I might sit through again. What is it with these space films that there has to be this epiphany about life. Oh how small we are compared to the universe. I mean did you have to really go to space to find that out? I’m on the ground and I know that…saved a ton on rocket fuel and space junk floating out into space.
Seriously, doesn’t NASA do some kind of testing on these people to see how they will handle space before and after because these movies don’t seem to show that. Instead its always something going wrong (GRAVITY for example) and THEN they get the meaning of life? Hey NASA, don’t use this as a recruitment film. This movie doesn’t even have cool space scenes!
Instead, the film decides to make a woman look crazy because she saw the earth from space. I truly wasn’t invested in the storyline and didn’t care whether she went back to space and the rest was just surface noise, 124 minutes of surface noise. The cheery noise on the cake was the sappy version of the most cool of Beatles songs – way to make sure the knife goes all the way in eh? To just put it all out there, I feel like I’ve been space punk’d once again! Give me Tom Hanks in APOLLO 13 any day and you can keep the rest.
In the end – in space no one can hear me scream!