Lucy in the Sky

Lucy in the Sky is not good, but it’s a little hard to pinpoint why. It’s based on the story of Lisa Nowak, the astronaut who, in 2007, drove from Houston to Orlando wearing a diaper, chased down the guy she had an extramarital affair with, and attempted to kidnap his new girlfriend. Sounds like it should make for a pretty good movie, right? The diaper’s not in the movie, and Nowak here is called Lucy Cola; she’s played by Natalie Portman in a Dorothy Hamill bob and a stretchy Southern accent. Lucy drives to the San Diego airport, not Orlando’s, and there are other changes, too—rather than rehashing a tabloid scandal, Lucy in the Sky would rather use it as a jumping-off point to explore character and interiority. In the right hands, this would be a good sign for a smart movie. And the hands seem to be right. Lucy’s directed by Noah Hawley, whose track record on television has some exceptional high notes (Fargo), and even his lower ones (Legion) are usually because of an excess of ambition—too many good ideas rather than a lack of them. Hawley’s a terrific writer and a remarkable visual stylist; his debut feature film should be something worth leaving the house for. And yet. Lucy in the Sky is flat and cold and terribly dull.

by Ned Lannamann
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Noah Hawley
Jon Hamm, Natalie Portman, Zazie Beetz