Review: 'Lucky', Harry Dean Stanton Gives A Fitting Final Performance

Lucky, follows the journey of 90 year old Lucky, played by the late Harry Dean Stanton in one of his final screen roles, as he is faced with the ever present reality that the truth for all of us lies in the fact that at some point “it’ll all go away… into blackness… the void,” and that the best way to deal with that kind of bleak certainty is to find peace, joy, or comfort in the journey or to put it more simply, “smile.”

On the surface level, one might think that this film is merely about a chain smoking, yet miraculously healthy, cynical,  loner of an old man who is being faced with the reality of his own immortality, but to solely receive that image and nothing more is to miss out on the deeper message that this movie is trying to convey. Harry Dean Stanton does a great job of capturing the complexity of a man who seems to be content with the life that he has been given and the reality that his days are numbered but underneath it all seems to still yearn for something more.

Lucky’s mundane and routine life that consists of morning yoga, walks to the local grocery store and diner where he drinks coffee and banters with the employees, crossword puzzles, gameshows, cigarettes, and nightly trips to the bar is temporarily disrupted by the news that his getting older is the probable reason for his collapse that had happened earlier in the day. Though, he resumes his routine after this jolt of truth it goes without saying that his outlook on life has undoubtedly changed.

The movie does suffer from slow pacing. Though, I understand that that may have been a conscious decision so as to reflect Lucky’s slow and seemingly boring life, while watching it I found myself at times wanting more. I knew going in that Lucky is meant to go through a spiritual journey in the story, but there were moments where I had wished that they had dug a little more deeply into that theme. At times, I had gotten the feeling that certain scenes were built up to some kind of philosophical revelation where once it was said they didn’t feel the need to continue the scene or didn’t know how to
continue the scene and so it would stop there. However, when these scenes were done right, they definitely can and will leave some kind of an emotional and thought provoking impact on the viewer.

Seeing David Lynch as Howard, a man who is distraught at the running away of his tortoise Roosevelt, in this movie was a pleasant surprise. He often seemed to steal the spotlight in whatever scene he found himself in. One of the things that I personally loved about this film is the metamodernist approach that it takes in presenting the idea of an existential awakening to the viewer. Understanding the idea of metamodernism and fully grasping the concept is something that has been of interest to me as of lately and after watching this film I can say that I do have a better comprehension of it. This is a solid directorial debut from John Carroll Lynch and while I do know that this movie isn’t necessarily for everyone, I do think that it is worth a shot to give it at least one watch. If you do decide to give it a shot, remember to go into it with a completely open mind and I guarantee that you’ll be able to come out of it with some kind of valuable insight about life and our purpose on this earth.

Rating: 3 out of 5