Chew's Review - Lucy In The Sky

By Gary Chew |  

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Truth be told, LUCY IN THE SKY should be titled LISA IN THE SKY. Yes, we know the title was spun from the familiar '67 Beatles' hit that lastly included the words “with diamonds.” With consistency, the script also fails at getting much of what actually happened to a female NASA astronaut in 2007. Her name was and is Lisa Nowak. She was charged then for attempting to kidnap another female astronaut called Colleen Shipman. Uh, you don't want to hear the whole story, but ...

… the dust-up between these ladies had to do with a love triangle that included yet another astronaut who had gone to space and back for NASA. He was, and still is a guy. Details of this aren't important to the review, only insofar as to clear the air about how off-target the script (by Brian C. Brown and Elliot DiGuiseppi) is from the basic facts of the Nowak/Shipman kerfuffle. I won't spend many words delineating the flip-flopping of what happens for two characters in the film; that might be considered a lower-case spoiler. Just know that the running script of LUCY IN THE SKY causes one to ponder very big things … out in the reaches of space, but borrows from mundane and personal events back on earth.

Had I known that going in, what does fictitiously occur to astronaut Lucy Cola (Natalie Portman) might have seemed of less value. But not knowing basic facts, I got “shaggy dogged.” And that “doggy” was what brought me along rather well until the last half of the final act of director Noel Hawley's very first feature film. Hawley is known for writing at least three well-received television series. You do recall FARGO, LEGION and BONES, don't you? I'm thinking that none of the three is “old” enough to start running and re-running, then re-re-running on the cable machine, as most vintage television series do.

Lucy (Natalie Portman) never loses. Smart, prepared, über competitive, she gets things done; and is married to a nice guy named Drew (Dan Stevens). A teenage niece lives with the couple. Her name,for some reason, is Blue Iris (Pearl Amanda Dickson). Drew is god-fearing, Blue Iris seems disengaged and Ms. Portman, as Lucy, really gets her butch on for this sci-fi semi-thriller, although (don't worry), after coming back from space ... herself ... gets real tight with the already-gone-to-space astronaut dude mentioned in an earlier paragraph. Mark (Jon Hamm) is what people call him.

Orbiting around the blossoming infidelity being laid down by Lucy and Mark is Erin (Zazie Beetz), the other female, but up-and-coming NASA astronaut. (See Beetz now as Joaquin Phoenix's love target in the shattering film, JOKER.) Erin is vying against Lucy for a spot on the next mission to space. For a bit of humorous monologue, the great Ellen Burstyn, as Nana, plays Lucy's old mother figure. She is funny, sort of; and appears to be the motivating force as to why Lucy is such a winning perfectionist. Not all of that is pretty, by the way.

Bottom line on this soapy space opera is that Lucy got her pretty brains blown floating out in space as she was almost doing what I call a “Gary Lockwood” but, fortuitously tied to a tether-line. Lucy can almost can see “diamonds” across that infinite gulf of space. Such an experience can really rattle a perfect woman's mind in, I guess, a very transcendental kind of way. Some of this is rather moving since we have yet to come to the entrance of the “shaggy dog.” That's when Lucy totally loses it in a quite elongated freakout, as she and Blue Iris hastily motor cross country to confront someone other that what the facts say in regard to the aforementioned Nowak/Shipman showdown at a Florida airport.

Without spoiling it anymore for you, the script moves to a point where there seems to be no place to go and find an effective ending. That's when Brown and DiGuiseppi cue the bees … and our Lucy is no longer way up there in the sky.

Lennon and McCartney, meet Nowak and Shipman.

                                            Copyright © 2019 by Gary Chew. All rights reserved.


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