Lucy in the Sky (2019) – Review

Lucy in the Sky falls into theaters on October 4.

By Elazar Abrahams

There’s no other way to put it: Lucy in the Sky is a total misfire. I’m always excited to see original ideas at the movie theater, but this astronaut drama starts out boring and descends into hilariously awful.

We open in space, with Lucy (Natalie Portman) having a transcendent experience. Viewing the entire planet and watching the sunrise up there, she realizes how minuscule life back on Earth is. After returning from the NASA mission, Lucy begins to lose touch with reality. After sailing through the stars, how can she pretend to care about her nerdy husband or driving her niece to school? Yup, this is unrelated to the Beatles song that shares a title. (Although an instrumental version is played at one point.)

The movie’s pitch is not a bad one, and in another timeline, this could have made for great cinema. Unfortunately, the direction the story goes in is so tonally jarring and laughably strange that as the pieces are being set up for the third act, the entire film falls apart. Even before it flies off the rails, the script is just plain boring, which makes Lucy in the Sky a chore to get through.

The worst part of the movie is its gimmick of constantly changing aspect ratios. And by “constantly changing,” I mean every three minutes. It’s exhausting. At first, I assumed the changes were symbolizing the wider view in the solar system versus the narrower view down on Earth, but it quickly became clear this was happening without rhyme or reason. What is the world was director Noah Hawley thinking? Hawley has created some of the most creative and visually stunning television of the past decade with Fargo and Legion. This is his first movie, and he completely bombs. The novelty is totally dropped in the last half hour, which just adds to the confusion.

Let’s end this review on a positive note. The performances here are very good! Natalie Portman is reliable as always and nails this role. I love me some Jon Hamm, despite his skeezy character. Dan Stevens has a serviceable turn as well. Rising star Zazie Beetz (Atlanta, Deadpool 2) is also great. And I had a huge grin when Tig Notaro was briefly on screen. Too bad the cast isn’t enough to save the film.

I give Lucy in the Sky a D.

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