Zazie Beetz and Natalie Portman in the film LUCY IN THE SKY. Photo by Hilary B. Gayle. © 2019 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

By Liz Lopez

Rating: C+

Noah Hawley (“Legion” and “Fargo” TV series) makes his feature directing debut with “Lucy In the Sky,” based on a screenplay he wrote with Brian C. Brown and Elliott DiGuiseppi and despite any revisions he made to the script, the storytelling is still lacking. This is sad to say, but I cannot remember how long it has been since I wondered how long I had been sitting through the film and when it would be over. I was so looking forward to watching the film that states at the beginning that it is inspired by true events, but it seemed so long to get to a point of interest for me. I wanted to like the film, especially with Natalie Portman portraying Lucy Cola, an astronaut, as well as Zazie Beetz, co-staring as Erin Eccles, the new young astronaut candidate for an upcoming mission. Unfortunately, the script is under-written for them and other characters, Lucy’s niece Blue Iris (Pearl Amanda Dickson) and Ellen Burstyn as Lucy’s grandmother, Nana Holbrook. It is not until the third act where the script shifts and seems to remember to include something from the “true event” that inspired it.

“Lucy in the Sky” starts with Lucy returning from an extended mission in space and soon realizes she has a different perspective about the life she has on Earth, especially with her devoted and loving husband, Drew (Dan Stevens, “Beauty and the Beast”), who is employed at NASA. Despite the multitude of exams conducted upon her return, she claims she is “fine” and yet something is amiss psychologically. She intentionally skips her medical follow up appointments with her therapist (played by Nick Offerman) and despite concern for her, no one really seems to pursue help for her obsessions and behavior – even when she is trying to quality and secure a seat on the next mission. She wants to return to space so badly, she ignores the real world by imagining she is in space and if not, escapes real life by having an affair with fellow astronaut, Mark Goodwin (Jon Hamm). I do admire the fact that although they do have an affair, there aren’t many explicit naked scenes of what they do out in the open or behind closed doors.

Portman’s performance is good, but her character is written similarly to other characters in dramas that Portman has starred in (“Black Swan,” “Jackie”) – to the point of boring- but not for her lack of talent. She is doing her best with the script. One aspect that may appeal to some audience members is viewing how timely the issue remains about obstacles women face in traditionally male-dominated fields, as well as having the term “emotional” used as an excuse for being cut from a job. Yes, this can make someone feel like they are going to unravel in one way or another.

“Lucy in the Sky” opens in Austin theaters October 11th. It is 124 minutes long and is rated R for language and some sexual content.

Source: Fox Searchlight

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