Friday, October 18, 2019

Lucy in the Sky (Without Diamonds)

Lucy in the Sky offers little for audiences while struggling mightily to bring the life of astronaut Lisa Nowak to the big screen. Director Noah Hawley's film offers a plum role for Natalie Portman and some interesting visuals but lacks a clear purpose. I was also perplexed by a constantly changing camera frame. At first, I thought it was Hawley's attempt to differentiate the parts of Lisa's life that worked at NASA versus those she struggled with at home. However, it soon became apparent that there was no rhyme or reason other than, I suspect, to try and keep the audience's interest through a tedious series of events.

The project has a star, intriguing subject matter in the astronaut's deteriorating mental state after her return to Earth and failure to earn another trip to space, a supporting cast including Jon Hamm, and plenty of budget (the scenes of NASA training being the best of the film). So what went wrong? For starters, the script by Brian C. Brown and Elliott DiGuiseppi is mind-numbing slog that turns on a dime just in time for a bizarre final act featuring Portman's character running far off the rails (and keeps on running) in a series of events that aren't earned or properly established.

Lucy in the Sky is a bad film that struggles constantly with consistency and seems to lack a purpose behind what story it wants to share. The movie has several nice moments, including the sequence of the secret space club going bowling, but it also drags on incessantly for an hour or more before driving Lisa over the edge (and taking any hope for the film to redeem itself with her). Although she does what she can with the source material, and we can definitely see glimpses of what drew her to the role, this might be Portman's worst film, and it likely isn't one any of the cast or crew will put on their resume.

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