Directed by: John Carroll Lynch
Written by: Logan Sparks (screenplay), Drago Sumonja (screenplay)
Starring: Harry Dean Stanton, David Lynch, Ron Livingston
Watching Lucky not long after Harry’s passing feels like a homage to his work. This is especially apparent given the core theme that runs through the veins of Lucky; how one deals with the notion that their end is coming soon, that everyone’s end will come eventually and will fade into nothingness.
Far from action packed, this is a film that slowly contemplates this theme, among others. Lucky starts without a care in the world – or so it seems. When coughing, and told that he should quit smoking as they will kill him, the-90-year-old bluntly replies “if they coulda, it woulda happened already.” Such is the dry humour of Lucky, who at his age has not only disregarded anything that others think of him, but has no problem in lecturing younger folk on what he sees as being wrong with the world.
He is a fantastic variation of the grumpy old man, and when young characters try to talk to him about modern aspects of society, they are often met with a simple: ‘Bullshit’. In this way the film is rather funny, as the reactions of others are priceless, as well as Lucky’s blunt demeanor.
Early into the film he collapses for no reason, the only explanation from his doctor is that he is getting old, something he is obviously trying to avoid thinking about. So he continues with his daily routine of Yoga, and attempts to ignore the serious health scare. And of course he doesn’t stop smoking – would there be any point?
Over the course of the film we meet the few people in his life, and some of characters gradually change his perception of his situation, notably David Lynch (who is great as man whose tortoise ‘ran away’), and his buddies in the bar who have gotten to know his habits and eccentricities.
A turning point occurs when Loretta (Yvonne Huff), an African American woman, visits as she is worried about him. They end up smoking a joint together while watching television, and it is here is where Lucky really begins to change his thought-patterns as he shares a secret with Loretta that he has obviously been holding in.
Set in his ways, he is clearly a man who isn’t fond of change, but has had to cope with it as society has changed so much throughout his life. And death, well, is there a bigger change? His anti-religious beliefs don’t help in his acceptance of his situation, but his journey towards accepting that, yes, everything does come to an end, is extremely moving.
With an almost permanent deadpan look on his face and an extremely dry, blunt sense of humour, Lucky will make you laugh and will make you cry as he has a way with words that cut deep.
We are even privy to see him sing in Spanish, spontaneously singing an emotional song that everyone in attendance knows. This is another important scene, as Lucky realises that he isn’t as alone as he thought, even though he’d tell others the opposite. And his voice, at his age, is remarkable.
An extremely powerful film that doesn’t just contemplate death, but also explores the feeling of being alone, trying to ignore negative facts, and how one can attempt to adapt to a changing society at the age of 90. An incredibly funny yet emotionally dynamic film, this is perhaps the best film of the year that no one has seen. Rest in Peace Harry, we are all going to miss you.
This film is worth a full sixer, If you enjoy films that make you think about emotional, complex subject matter, this is the perfect film for you. As it was for me.