Review: LUCY IN THE SKY Has Its Head Too Far In The Clouds


Lucy in the Sky is ambitious, but director Noah Hawley can't seem to figure out what to do with his vision and the phenomenal ensemble he has assembled.
Technical Merit

Lucy in the Sky, the directorial debut of Noah Hawley (the creator of FX’s Legion and Fargo) is a star-studded and ambitious new spacefaring drama. However, despite the sheer abundance of potential this film had, this ends up being one of the year’s biggest disasters due to the fact that Hawley simply doesn’t seem to know what he is doing.

Inspired by true events, the movie follows an astronaut who begins to lose touch with reality after returning from space and feeling enlightened by her experiences. The true story upon which this film is loosely based is actually pretty insane, and yet the approach that Hawley and writers Elliot DiGuiseppi and Brian C. Brown takes manages to turn it into little more than an average melodrama.

There is some interesting subtext in the movie about obsession and its similarities to addiction, but these are sadly buried by the film’s underwhelming attempts to be profound. More often than not, it seems as if the filmmakers were so caught up in trying to be smart and insightful that their work loses almost all of the potential impact that it potentially had.

One of the main problems with the movie is that there is not a character with whom the audience can easily identify. The protagonist, Lucy, isn’t a particularly likable character. Although some viewers may find her quest to find her place in the greater scheme of things to be compelling, many will be put off by her relentlessly selfish actions.

lucy in the sky training
Zazie Beetz and Natalie Portman in the film LUCY IN THE SKY. Photo by Hilary B. Gayle. © 2019 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved.

Even though the cast assembled for the film consists of some of the most talented actors working today, their performances never reach their full potential because the material limits them. Natalie Portman gives a solid turn in the title role, and while she never reaches the level of her best work, she is the main reason why the movie is even remotely watchable. The supporting cast includes names such as Jon Hamm, Dan Stevens, Zazie Beetz, Ellen Burstyn, Jeffery Donovan, and Nick Offerman, although they each only get one or two memorable scenes.

That said, perhaps the most frustrating thing about this film is that Hawley tries to experiment with his style to a distracting extent. The aspect ratio of the movie is constantly changing, and it would be hard not to notice. Sometimes the aspect ratios will be comically bad, such as a few instances in which the shot is ridiculously thin, or one side of the screen is left entirely black. To add insult to injury, these decisions are often entirely unwarranted.

Many other choices made by Hawley are questionable. The production design in many sequences is actually quite good, but other scenes utilize excessive green screen or CGI effects and end up being extremely distracting. The soundtrack is also frequently poorly-fit to the film, and even though the score is beautiful on its own, the way in which it is aligned with the visuals doesn’t exactly work.

Likely one of the most disappointing movies of 2019, Lucy in the Sky is a total mess. Even though the script is decent and the ensemble is gifted, Hawley just didn’t have what it takes to bring his vision to life.

Lucy in the Sky is now playing in theaters.


This June on CBS All Access

More Paramount movies added, Star Trek VII: Generations & The Godfather plus all new season of the original series, The Twilight Zone & the PGA Tour. Streaming only on CBS All Access! Sign Up: © 2019 CBS Interactive, Inc.

Hanna Season 2 – Official Trailer

Welcome to the Meadows, a secret conditioning school where assassins are trained to go undercover as everyday teenage girls. But a former test subject, Hanna, returns to infiltrate the facility and put an end to this shadowy organization. They took her father. They took her identity. But can they stop her? Watch the official trailer…

Devs | Ep. 1: Welcome to Devs Highlight | FX

Sergei (Karl Glusman) starts his mysterious new job at Devs. Subscribe now for more Devs clips: Devs follows the story of a young software engineer, Lily Chan, who investigates the secretive development division of her employer which she believes is behind her boyfriend's murder. Devs stars Sonoya Mizuno, Nick Offerman, Jin Ha, Zach Grenier,…

2020 HAHA Awards • Best Talking Pet Nominees • Hulu • Adult Animation

The first-annual Hilarious Animated Hulu Awards are here. So, check out the nominees for Best Talking Pet, vote for your favorites at and then watch them all on Hulu. SUBSCRIBE TO HULU’S YOUTUBE CHANNEL Click the link to subscribe to our channel for the latest shows & updates: START YOUR FREE TRIAL…

Mrs. America | Ep. 3: One Hand Won’t Clap Highlight | FX

Shirley's (Uzo Aduba) presidential bid struggles with fading support from her feminist allies. Subscribe now for more Mrs. America clips: Mrs. America recounts the movement to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and the unexpected backlash led by Phyllis Schlafly, aka “the sweetheart of the silent majority.” Through the eyes of the women of…

An American Pickle | Official Trailer | HBO Max

AN AMERICAN PICKLE, directed by Brandon Trost, is based on Simon Rich’s New Yorker novella and stars Seth Rogen as Herschel Greenbaum, a struggling laborer who immigrates to America in 1920 with dreams of building a better life for his beloved family. One day, while working at his factory job, he falls into a vat…

The Craft Behind Succession | HBO

Take a deep dive inside the craft of the award-winning drama series Succession. Video created by Michal Zak. #HBO #SuccessionHBO Subscribe to HBO on YouTube: Succession tracks the lives of the Roy family as they contemplate their future once their aging father (Brian Cox) begins to step back from the media and entertainment conglomerate…

Jim Gaffigan: The Pale Tourist | New Comedy Special | Amazon Prime Video

On the heels of the successful worldwide stand-up tour, Jim Gaffigan: The Pale Tourist will premiere on Amazon Prime Video on Friday, July 24. The two-part stand-up special features the Grammy-nominated, Emmy Award-winning and New York Times best-selling author, actor and comedian Jim Gaffigan as he embarks on a seemingly impossible quest: to land in…
Sean Boelman
Sean is a film student, aspiring filmmaker, and life-long cinephile. For as long as he can remember, he has always loved film, but he credits the film Pan's Labyrinth as having started his love of film as art. Sean enjoys watching many types of films, although some personal favorite genres include dramatic comedies, romantic comedies, heist films, and art horror.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here