TIFF 2019: Our Review of ‘Lucy in the Sky’

Posted in Festival Coverage, Movies, Theatrical, TIFF 2019 by - September 17, 2019
TIFF 2019: Our Review of ‘Lucy in the Sky’

My father was a professor of Astronomy, so I’ve always been a sucker for space and NASA movies. While there is a lot of NASA in this film, there is very little space, which was a bummer for me. That written, I do love the idea of an astronaut – having seen the enormity of the universe from space – having problems re-acclimating to a perceived insignificant life here on Earth. 

Natalie Portman as Lucy is simply incredible. As she goes down the rabbit hole of psychosis, her performance ramps up into an intense obsession that, while it’s a completely different situation, recalls Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction. Jon Hamm, Zazie Beetz, Ellen Burstyn, and Dan Stevens all provide strong secondary characters. 

The movie is shot beautifully, and the cinematography is gorgeous. There is one sequence where Lucy is travelling between two places and she’s frozen, centre-frame, with the background changing locations behind her. It’s genius. 

Still, the director changes aspect ratios to reflect Lucy’s emotional state – wide when she’s in space or at NASA, narrow when she’s at home. It’s an interesting idea, but it quickly becomes distracting to the point of annoyance. 

Further, a lot of the writing involves simple and surface-level metaphors that come across as lazy, and despite the fact that it was loosely based on real events, the final act feels a little ridiculous. 

For its visuals and performances alone, Lucy in the Sky is worth watching, but I wish I loved it more. 

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