Lucy in the Sky

Critics Consensus

Natalie Portman gives it her all, but it isn't enough to overcome Lucy in the Sky's confused approach to its jumbled story.

21%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 123

31%

Audience Score

Verified Ratings: 75

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Movie Info

After an awe-inspiring experience in outer space, an astronaut returns to Earth and starts to lose touch with reality in a world that now seems too small.

Cast

Natalie Portman
as Lucy Cola
Jon Hamm
as Mark Goodwin
Dan Stevens
as Drew Cola
Zazie Beetz
as Erin Eccles
Ellen Burstyn
as Nana Holbrook
Colman Domingo
as Frank Paxton
Jeremiah Birkett
as Hank Lynch
Tig Notaro
as Kate Mounier
Cali DiCapo
as Elementary School Girl
Nick Offerman
as Will Plimpton
Joe Williamson
as Mayer Hines
Arnell Powell
as Earl Pearly
Rene Herrera
as NASA Safety Diver #1
Casey Adams
as NASA Safety Diver #2
Rick Rottger
as NASA Safety Diver #3
Sean Taylor
as NASA Safety Diver #4
Shay Ali
as Test Engineer
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News & Interviews for Lucy in the Sky

Critic Reviews for Lucy in the Sky

All Critics (123) | Top Critics (30) | Fresh (26) | Rotten (97)

Audience Reviews for Lucy in the Sky

  • Jan 25, 2020
    I feel as though I've ranted ad infinitum about movies that are "inspired by real events" as the post title card in LUCY IN THE SKY purports the proceeding film to be, so I won't beat the point to death. In this instance, director Noah Hawley and his co-writers culled from the real life story of disgraced astronaut Lisa Nowak and the love triangle that drove her incontinence cross-continent on a 900 mile trip to attempt the kidnapping of her astronaut lover's girlfriend. Obviously, there are some major dramatic and thematic embellishments that seem to be at the heart of many of the negative reviews for this movie, but I personally wouldn't care to see LISA IN THE CAR WITH DIAPERS. The real events often don't have as much artistic flair to them. That's why movies are remarkable, and real life just kind of happens all the time. With that said, this review was "inspired by a real movie". I'm just your every day, average Joe, and like most people I went to the theater to see Natalie Portman in another tour de force performance in a prestige vehicle that would serve as further affirmation of this year's trend for smart, entertaining, and well made space dramas. Instead, I got LUCY IN THE SKY, and buddy, let me tell you, I wish I had been on some of the Beatles' cryptically referenced hallucinogen of choice for this one. Chalking up another bizarre entry in her filmography after VOX LUX, Portman plays a bona fide corn pone ass-tro-not coping with the immensity of the cosmos and the insignificance of Earthly life after one eye-opening space walk from a space station in a space suit in outer space. That's about as "science fiction" as this sci-fi flick will muster so don't be expecting laser blasters, mysterious signals from another planet, or aliens. This is sci-fi in the sense that normal science exists and the story is fiction, but this story could have taken place in nearly any setting if not for Lucy's space-induced insanity - the most ludicrous aspect of the film according to "real life" astronaut Marsha Ivins. People, namely specialists with extreme technical expertise who have trained their bodies and minds to physically traverse the atmosphere and Earth's outer orbit in advanced technological dirigibles don't go nuts because they went into outer space. People go nuts because the movie they're watching changes aspect ratio about 15 times in the first 30 minutes. I'm a huge Peter Greenaway fan, and he would often create structural and stylistic events in his films to remind the audience that they are watching a movie and to comment on the medium and how we process visual information. Here the aspect ratio changes to reflect Lucy's emotional state as a very baseline stylistic decision, like a comic book or a trailer for a 90's dark comedy. It's like Hawley saw the moonwalk scene in Damien Chazelle's FIRST MAN and said, "Hey that's cool, maybe I should do that the entire movie!" If only the movie's sins ended at the undulating letterboxes. In this alternate-dimension NASA, astronauts are high-functioning alcoholics who occasionally go for runs and almost never do anything scientific. Jon Hamm plays a believably boozey ladies' man in just about any movie or TV show he's in, but do they really expect me to believe that one of the only people qualified to go into outer space passes out on his Huston Space Center office couch with a brown bag full of warm PBR tall boys under him? The "southern" characterizations of the always wonderful Ellen Burstyn and especially Portman seem to come right out of an R-rated version of the "Reba" sitcom, and it reeks of cosmo-Hollywood caricaturism. This is a lot of nit-picking, I know, but the minutiae adds up to a stylistically unfocused, sometimes unintentionally hilarious, and ultimately bogus journey of self-discovery and feminist actualization, solidarity, and resistance (a blatant thematic intent that certainly comes up short of its goal). I will say this however, the parts of the movie that aren't obscured by arbitrary black frames are beautifully shot. Between this and SERENITY, 2019 has the "high cinematography with hare-brained drama" genre down pat, and LUCY IN THE SKY should sit nicely next to your blu-ray copy of THE BOOK OF HENRY.
    Steve L Super Reviewer
  • Dec 24, 2019
    I don't really know what this movie was trying to say. I think co-writer/director Noah Hawley (TV's Fargo, Legion) was better trying to humanize the story of Lisa Novak, the astronaut who drove 900 miles, while wearing diapers to skip bathroom breaks, to confront the current lover of an ex-boyfriend, all three NASA employees. It was a story so bizarre, so tabloid ready, that a big screen adaptation was inevitable. What I wasn't expecting was an artist to take this and discard the attention-grabbing details and turn this into a ponderous existential meditation. Lucy (Natalie Portman) has recently returned from Earth and our big blue planet doesn't feel the same after she's touched the majesty of space. Her life seems small, meaningless, boring, and she can't shake her terrestrial depression. She begins an affair with a co-worker (Jon Hamm) to feel that same special sensation again, but she's chasing something uniquely elusive. Lucy in the Sky is structured like a Terrence Malick movie was crossbred with a heavy-handed addiction melodrama. It's not a good fit. The ever-changing aspect ratios are meant to convey her emotional state, but just when I thought I had a handle on how to decode them, Hawley would frustratingly break the rules with them. As far as I can tell, the wider ratio (during space) is meant to convey... good things, and the smaller, boxier ratios (Earthbound) are meant to convey... not good things. But then wide shots will be filmed in super widescreen and it throws away that interpretation. It's an annoying visual tic in a movie that feels over-directed. The blunt characterization for Lucy fails to open her up beyond that of a self-destructive addict. She had a demanding mother (Ellen Burstyn), an existential crisis, and a boring husband (Dan Stevens), so does that explain her behavior? Portman commits to the madness and I give her credit, though her thick Texas accent made me rear back (it sounded like Reba McEntire). The movie is almost worth watching just for her game performance, kind of like last year's similar artistic misfire, Vox Lux. Lucy is definitely unhinged by the time she's making her fateful cross-state road trip. She mutters that women are regarded as "too emotional" as a common slight to sideline, but her behavior isn't exactly dispelling this criticism. Maybe trying to turn "diaper astronaut love triangle" into a symbol for female discrimination wasn't exactly the best call. Lucy in the Sky is an arty mess that is trying so hard to say something profound but loses the very appeal of its source material. Either you embrace "diaper astronaut love triangle" or you don't. Nate's Grade: C
    Nate Z Super Reviewer

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