Lucky Review

“Lucky” puts us squarely into the boots of a nonagenarian — the routine, the attitude and the unknown. We follow Lucky (Harry Dean Stanton) as he goes about his day in the tiny desert town where he lives and his interactions with everyone from the employees at his favorite diner to the convenience store clerk to his fellow regulars at the bar.

Actor John Carroll Lynch’s directing debut isn’t as methodical as that sounds, but it has no central conflict either. The screenplay from Logan Sparks and Drago Sumonja disrupts Lucky’s routine with just the slightest brushes of existentialism, though in fairness, living every day as a 90-year-old is an exercise in existentialism.

“Lucky” invites us to peel back the curtain on the creatures of habit that many so often take old people to be and to see them for the person they are and the life they’ve lived. At the same time, the film has no morbid angle. It portrays Lucky as a man at a stage of his life, not the end of it.

Stanton’s performance succinctly captures what we know or imagine an old man’s life to be like, and he embodies that caricature, but he also goes beyond it when the film challenges Lucky’s stubborn attitudes and attempts to awaken pieces of him that don’t play out in the average day to day.

As expected, Lynch’s film is portrait-like. His job is to show us the full range of this human and help us wade into his life. Then the dialogue and scenarios provide thoughts for the film to meditate on in place of conflict. Since much of that conversation must be injected into Lucky’s fairly humdrum life, the drama can seem a little contrived, but there’s a really beautiful purpose behind pulling those strings and Stanton’s performance as he responds is the true reward.

“Lucky” occasionally gets lost in a hazy intellectual cloud, usually of cigarette smoke, but there might not be a more genuine, sincere, well-scripted and well-constructed film about advanced age.


4/5 Stars


Directed by John Carroll Lynch
Written by Logan Sparks, Drago Sumonja
Starring: Harry Dean Stanton, David Lynch, Ron Livingston

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