Title – Lucy in the Sky (2019)
Director – Noah Hawley (feature debut)
Cast – Natalie Portman, Jon Hamm, Zazie Beetz, Dan Stevens, Ellen Burstyn, Jeffrey Donovan, Nick Offerman
Plot – Nasa pilot Lucy Cola (Portman) returns to Earth, fresh from a space exercise and she quickly finds herself unraveling around her new world perspective.
“You go up there, you see the whole universe, and everything here looks so small”
Review by Eddie on 30/04/2020
Creating a name for himself thanks to his script writing duties on Legion and cult TV masterpiece Fargo, the excitement around Noah Hawley transitioning into the feature film space was well deserved but the initial anticipation of Hawley’s directional debut quickly gave way to shock thanks to the failings of the once awards touted Lucy in the Sky.
One of 2019’s most critically derided events as well as a genuine box office stinker, Sky, which is based in part around the real events of a NASA astronaut who began too mentally unravel upon her return to the Earth she viewed from up above, is a 2 hour slog, as poor old Natalie Portman tries her utmost to work her magic around a snail paced plot and a self-knowing script that thinks far too much of itself without earning it.
Things start out well enough, Sky has the look and feel of a prestige awards drama thanks to it’s slick exterior, due to Polly Morgan’s cinematography (sadly lessened by some extremely odd aspect ratio shifts) and Jeff Russo’s Interstellar-lite score, but as Portman’s clearly unhinged Lucy Cola returns from her brief sojourn in space, the pretentiousness of Hawley’s unengaging affair begins to overcome everything else around it.
You’d be right to wonder as a viewer more than once during the films first 90 or so minutes if anything of note will happen throughout, as nothing much more than Lucy going bowling, Jon Hamm being sleazy (in yet another horrible feature role) and Dan Steven’s making faces seems to take place in the ponderous posturings of Hawley’s event become too much to bare.
It’s not as if there’s nothing here that’s worth exploring, the idea of what it must be like to have your world views changed by an outer world experience is an intriguing one and Portman continues to showcase herself to be one of the most talented performers working today but no elements of Sky come together to form a cohesive or gripping whole on it’s quest to examine some of life’s biggest questions.
These questions asked in Sky’s run-time are unfortunately never answered, the only possible salvation for a poorly written and structured film that takes us on a long-winded journey to a finale that might have brief moments of humanity but can’t help but feel wholly anticlimactic.
Final Say –
Lucy in the Sky has all the talent in the world but no one can help save it from itself as Hawley’s feature debut becomes one of the biggest disappointments of recent times.
1 1/2 gas canisters out of 5