Lucy in the Sky Takes a Meandering Trip To Space

Lucy in the Sky Review
Natalie Portman and Jon Hamm in the film LUCY IN THE SKY. Photo by Hilary B. Gayle. © 2019 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

This year seems to be the year of long, and slow moving space movies. And joining that mix is Lucy in the Sky. The movie follows the story of Lucy Cola, a NASA astronaut who goes on her first mission to space and then comes back changed. The film is based on true events, but it leaves viewers with a lot to be desired.

Following Lucy’s trip to space, she is a changed woman. Knowing what it feels like to see the world and universe, her life at home seems small and pointless. And she is struggling to find herself again, and a connection with someone who might understand not only what she experienced, but who she has become now. From training for another mission, figuring out what she wants out of her life and finding her new relationships – Lucy is trying to regain that feeling she had when she was in space.

Where the movie falls apart? Lucy in the Sky gives you a slow moving story about Lucy Cola but no real context about why we should care. The technology, hair cuts, clothing, cars and even houses give the viewer a mixed message about the time line of events and it wasn’t until well into the movies that we were able to place that this was actually in the 1990’s. For a large portion we almost could have guessed it was the 70’s or 80’s and this lack of information became a big distraction for a portion of the movie.

Lucy in the Sky Review
Natalie Portman in the film LUCY IN THE SKY. Photo Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures. © 2019 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

Lucy Cola was an actual astronaut and the story the movie covers actually did happen (sort of, some was changed in the film). But when you realize what is actually happening you may confuse it with another famous case you heard about an astronaut in the news in the 2000’s – but the movie doesn’t hit that story on the head and it leaves you questioning.

The movie is actually based on that 2007 case of Lisa Marie Nowak, who is generally known as the “diaper wearing astronaut” who assaulted her lover’s girlfriend after driving 900 miles to confront her. The movie takes artistic licenses with the story, changing the time frame, the location and what actually happened.

Besides not rounding out the story for viewers, we have no real reason we should be interested in Lucy’s story – while it just reinforces that her emotions may make her a risk in space – something that women in the field fight with still today. And after the crime is done? The movie drops the ball again and doesn’t tell you what happened to her, or again – why you should even care.

The one thing Lucy in the Sky does well is close up shots of Natalie Portman’s face – which it lingers on way too long – multiple times throughout the film.

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Lucy in the Sky Review

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.


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