Lucy in The Sky Review - Riveting, Character Driven Performances Power This True Story

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Lucy in the Sky, from Fox Searchlight Pictures and TSG Entertainment, brings to the screen the true story of Lucy Cola one of the best of the best and the meltdown that caught her unprepared and shocked the world.

Directed and co-written by Noah Hawley, Lucy in the Sky stars Natalie Portman, John Hamm, Pearl Amanda Dickson, Zazie Beetz, Dan Stevens Colman Domingo, Jeffrey Donovan, Nick Offerman, Tig Notaro, Jeremiah Birkett, and Ellen Burstyn. Brian C. Brown and Elliot DiGuiseppi are also credited with co-writing the screenplay.

The film begins with Lucy Cola, played by Natalie Portman, on a space walk watching the sun rise and seeing the fullness of the planet earth. The pinnacle moment of her life, after thousands of hours of training, determination, fighting for first, deferments, arrived and it transfixed her. Not wanting to leave the moment, the persistent call of duty, nagging, albeit gentle, pulling her back.


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After returning from her first spacewalk, she was addicted to the thrill, the high, the exhilaration and a moment that was totally hers and became dogged in her pursuits to be named to the next mission. Of course, she wasn’t the only Astronaut waiting to secure a spot on the coveted team.

Married to NASAs PR rep, Drew Cola, played by Dan Stevens, Lucy is now a member of a special club made up of the few, as she is told by Mark Goodwin, played by Jon Hamm, who have walked in space, along with Jim Hunt, played by Jeffrey Donovan and Kate Mounier, played by Tig Notaro.

Not the type to relax and let loose, Lucy accepts the invitation of Mark Goodwin to a night of bowling and beer with the others. And soon she feels free enough to talk about issues that she refused to divulge in her debrief.

Soon her straight line has become blurred and her family life is becoming more the family lie. Raised by an alcoholic mother, Lucy married the first nice guy who asked, and even as he is a good provider, for her, the straight line is just not fulfilling her anymore.

Without thinking of her niece, Blue Iris, played by Pearl Amanda Dickson, who for a moment is living in stability or her mom, Nana, played by Ellen Burstyn, is crusty as usual, an alcoholic who totes a loaded gun, Lucy walks straight into a trap.


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Knowing Lucy was the candidate to beat, Erin Eccles, played by Zazie Beetz, becomes the main obstacle to her seat on the next mission. Each of the team, the best of the best, the world’s elite, are now in competition for a coveted spot on NASA next mission.

Unaccustomed to competing against another female for a spot, Lucy is left to navigate new territory and when the Goodwin, the captain makes the moves, she, believing it will secure her spot, falls headlong into what eventually becomes her demise.

She and Goodwin, who is known as a ladies man, become involved and as in every area she becomes obsessed with begin number one. If Goodwin suggests a change, she follows through, yes, and granted it was for the mission, she was playing him for the mission, and he was playing her to have her booted from the mission.

Lucy in the Sky is riveting, with shifts and twists, as the characters in this love triangle are brought to life.

Based on an actual story of Lucy Cola and her downfall, of which so many of the elements are known, the writers, Brian C. Brown and Elliot DiGuiseppi who have a lifelong love affair with NASA and the space program, chose to use creative license on some of the details.


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The film attempts to portray Lucy’s meltdown as in progress through hallucinogenic, wavy, almost a 3-D, graphics, and it doesn’t really come together until the end. The film leaves the question open to interpretation was she emotionally played intentionally, or did she just spin into an uncontrolled roll and lose her mind, even for a moment.

Lucy in the Sky stays true to NASA and the space program with sequences that appear to authenticate the actual rigors of training. Natalie Portman and John Hamm genuinely captured the emotional and mental stresses of the profession and the choice of releases mechanisms. The entire ensemble hits the emotional arcs of their characters. The performances are impressive.


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Mesmerizing, Lucy in the Sky presents the meltdown of one of America’s highest achievers, and leaves the audience wondering who played whom and who’s fault is it. It is intriguing, interesting and captivating.

Lucy in the Sky opens October 4, 2019. See it.

 

Article protected by Copyright. © Image credit courtesy of Fox Searchlight Films and used with permission.

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