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#TIFF19 Review: Lucy in the Sky (Special Presentations)

September 14, 2019

By John Corrado

★ (out of 4)

The feature directorial debut of Noah Hawley, who is best known for his work on the shows Fargo and LegionLucy in the Sky is a complete misfire, and watching it feels like being trapped in space. After returning from two weeks in space, astronaut Lucy Cola (Natalie Portman) struggles to readjust to her life back on earth, and starts cheating on her husband Drew (Dan Stevens) with fellow astronaut Mark Goodwin (Jon Hamm). Determined to get back into space, Lucy starts obsessively training, but her fraying mental state, and her suspicion that Mark is also sleeping with another astronaut (Zazie Beetz), causes her to quickly unravel.

The film is loosely inspired by the true story of astronaut Lisa Nowak, who drove from Houston, Texas to Orlando, Florida in 2007 to confront a co-worker over an affair. Nowak became infamous for the fact that she wore an adult diaper to cut down on the need for stops along the way, a detail that this film omits, but including it honestly could have only improved the final product. The film disappoints on a psychological level, too thinly written and underdeveloped to work as a character study, and what we are left with is a listless and at time pretentiously overstylized domestic drama that completely squanders the potential of its intriguing premise.

I’m all for changing aspect ratios, but they also need to have a point, and this film overdoes it, switching between full screen and different widescreen formats in the middle of scenes for no discernible rhyme or reason. This is an overlong, unfocused, melodramatic mess, with an uncharacteristically campy and over the top performance from Portman, who chews increasing amounts of the scenery as Lucy grows more unhinged. It’s by far the worst and most disappointing film I’ve seen at the festival this year.

Natalie Portman in Lucy in the Sky

Public Screenings:

Wednesday, September 11th – 9:00 PM at Princess of Wales

Thursday, September 12th – 2:30 PM at Princess of Wales

Friday, September 13th – 1:00 PM at Elgin Theatre

Sunday, September 15th – 5:45 PM at Scotiabank Theatre

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