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Lucy in the Sky (2019)

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2:31 | Trailer
Astronaut Lucy Cola returns to Earth after a transcendent experience during a mission to space, and begins to lose touch with reality in a world that now seems too small.

Director:

Noah Hawley

Writers:

Brian C. Brown (story by), Elliott DiGuiseppi (story by) | 3 more credits »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Natalie Portman ... Lucy Cola
Jon Hamm ... Mark Goodwin
Zazie Beetz ... Erin Eccles
Dan Stevens ... Drew Cola
Pearl Amanda Dickson ... Blue Iris
Ellen Burstyn ... Nana Holbrook
Colman Domingo ... Frank Paxton
Jeremiah Birkett ... Hank Lynch
Jeffrey Donovan ... Jim Hunt
Tig Notaro ... Kate Mounier
Stella Edwards ... Chelsea
Arlo Mertz ... Emily
Tobias Schönleitner ... Miles Henckle
Diana DeLaCruz ... Dr. Addison
Cali DiCapo ... Elementary School Girl
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Storyline

In LUCY IN THE SKY, Natalie Portman plays Lucy Cola, a strong woman whose determination and drive as an astronaut take her to space, where she's deeply moved by the transcendent experience of seeing her life from afar. Back home as Lucy's world suddenly feels too small, her connection with reality slowly unravels. Written by Fox Searchlight Pictures

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Sci-Fi

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some sexual content. | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

20 September 2019 (Slovakia) See more »

Also Known As:

Pale Blue Dot See more »

Filming Locations:

Santa Clarita, California, USA

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$54,058, 6 October 2019

Gross USA:

$319,976

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$325,950
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.39 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Original title was Pale Blue Dot. See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
First Hit: Lackluster and non-cohesive, the story had potential, but distractions and character jolts didn't work.
12 October 2019 | by michaeldoudSee all my reviews

First Hit: Lackluster and non-cohesive, the story had potential, but distractions and character jolts didn't work.

First off, when the actual picture on the screen kept changing the size, I thought, oh, we have a projection problem. Then I realized that the shifting from letterbox, to full screen, to square in the middle, square on each side of the screen, and wavy vertical edges was all part of the tricks Director Noah Hawley used to create the physical feeling of Astronaut Lucy Cola (Natalie Portman) was having because she felt disjointed and separate from world after having traveled in outer space.

This is based on a true story about how Lucy got caught up in the ethereal feeling of being back on earth after having floated out in space for two weeks. It's about how she struggled to get grounded after the experience and what happens when she loses focus.

The story shows her slipping in and out of states of quiet estrangement from the world around her. At one moment she's speaking with her husband Drew (Dan Stevens) in a usual kind of conversation and the next moment she's got this dreamy, faraway look in her eyes all the while the picture format of the film is changing, sometimes abruptly other times in a smooth wiping fashion. We learn about Lucy's background by Lucy's visits with her grandmother Nana (Ellen Burstyn). Nana is strict and expects Lucy to be tough, not like her flaky brother, who cannot sit still long enough to raise his daughter Blue Iris (Pearl Amanda Dickson).

Blue comes to stay with Drew and Lucy from time to time because it is the only stability and family she has. Her sadness and estrangement from her father are shown in one poignant scene when, after receiving a phone call from her dad, she goes into her room. She turns up the music loud and sits sulks on the floor. There are bits of scattered paper all round. Lucy goes in and reaches out to Blue and holds her, gives her space to try to put her life in perspective. The irony, of course, is that Lucy's life is out of control, and she doesn't know it, and she's consoling Blue, whose life is shattered.

Hoping to get back into space and have that sense of wonder and feeling all of life distantly, she begins working, studying, and training hard to be selected for the next mission. However, she's missing appointments with a NASA psychologist and starts acting on impulses that are generally foreign for her. One such impulse is to begin an affair with fellow astronaut Mark Goodwin (Jon Hamm). Another is bowling with a select group of others who've been in space as her. Together they are an elite club and talk around the edges of their inner experience of being in outer space.

Lucy is competitive and never loses, so when her fellow female astronaut Erin Eccles (Zazie Beetz) and who is competing with her for a seat on the next ride to space, sets a record for one of the tests, she's determined to beat it. However, there is a mishap, and this is when she obviously starts to spin out of control.

When she isn't selected to be part of the next team to space and is told to take some time off, she flips an internal switch and sets out to right all the wrongs she thinks are being done to her by NASA and Goodwin.

As I mentioned above, I thought the shift screen size projections were distracting and seemed like it was being used as a device to make us understand the character better. It doesn't happen in real life like this, so the technique only set me farther away from the story.

I also felt like the shifts made by Lucy was a bit inconsistent. However, her intensity of tracking down Mark and Erin in San Diego was fantastic. Watch her bark out orders to Blue like a head sergeant.

Portman, at times, was fantastic. There's a scene where we see just her face, and she smiles briefly, gives a look of being lost in a train of thought, upset, then smiles and on and on was Portman at her best. However, the script or direction had her inconsistent in such a way that the character was difficult to understand so overall it was one of her worst roles. Hamm did nothing new from his character in "Mad Men," he drank to excess and screwed everyone. I would like to see if he can do something else. Beetz was excellent as rival astronaut Eccles. Stevens was outstanding as Lucy's husband who always looked at the bright side of things. He was known at NASA as ever having a smile. Dickson was reliable as the lost girl who was looking for guidance and stability in her life. Burstyn was fantastic and one of the best parts of the film as the crusty hardened grandmother to Lucy. Brian C. Brown and Elliott DiGuiseppi wrote this story with revisions by both of them and Director Hawley. I'm not sure the story worked, but it was the direction by Hawley that led this film astray. Starting with the different projection shapes attempting to create a physical experience of Lucy's adjustment issues. They were a distraction.

Overall: This was a weak attempt to tell this story.


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