LUCKY THEM – TFF 2014 Movie Review
Spotlight..•..97 min...•..Drama, Relationship
US Premiere: April 21, 2014
DIRECTOR: .Megan Griffiths
WRITERS: .Huck Botko & Emily Wachtel
Toni Collette, Thomas Haden Church, Oliver Platt,
Nina Arianda, Ryan Eggold, Ahna O’Reilly
DISTRIBUTOR: .IFC Films
LUCKY THEM – TFF 2014..•..#LuckyThem
SYNOPSIS: Ellie Klug (Toni Collette) has one last chance to prove her value to her aging music magazine, Stax. As luck would have it, her editor (Oliver Platt) has just the assignment: a no-stone-unturned search to discover what really happened to long lost local rock god, Matt Smith. And wouldn’t you know it? Ellie and Matt have a history. Joined on the road by well-meaning but music-hating documentarian Charlie (Thomas Haden Church), Ellie delves into her past and quickly discovers that hype and mythology have not soothed the pain of her own experiences.
To seasoned rock journalist Ellie (Toni Collette), nothing matters more than the music—not her article due dates, rent, or relationships (…though, she typically remembers to feed her seahorses, Kurt and Courtney). The emotionally-aloof protagonist of Megan Griffiths’ relationship dramedy Lucky Them can’t even see that the men she thinks of as ‘boyfriends’ are really just fuck buddies, all of whom eventually tire of her wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am relationship-MO. At one time, Ellie’s passion for the music seemed inextricably intertwined with the love of her lifetime, Seattle rock icon Matt Smith (whose casting is far too good a surprise to spoil here). But when Matt suddenly vanished without trace, Ellie’s love of the music remained—and, whether she realized it or not, filled the Matt-size hole in her heart to the exclusion of almost all else and others. Fifteen years later, Ellie finds herself at a professional crossroads that is navigable only via painful personal catharsis: Can she give up the ghost of Matt Smith? Or will her past always dictate her future?
Lucky Them worships at the altar of music in a style reminiscent of Almost Famous, with a zealously passionate protagonist whose teen form would have been an ideal Empire Records employee. Collette’s Ellie, a woman completely thrown by the sudden realization that others see her as a relic of times past, is spot on. Almost manic in her desperation to cling to her glory days, Ellie knows she’s still got it—and, what’s more, sexy-voiced Lucas (Ryan Eggold), a young and smoking hot star-on-the-rise, knows it too. Ellie’s obstinate angst is nicely complemented by the comic stylings of her awkwardly-cocksure ex Charlie, played to eccentric perfection by Thomas Haden Church, her blunt bestie Dana (Nina Arianda), and her boss Giles, a surprisingly focused pothead given hilarious life by Oliver Platt’s pitch-perfect sarcasm.
Laugh-out-loud funny one-liners about sex, drugs, rock and roll, and relationship age-gaps—plus an interesting coming-of-age note in the characters’ paths to redemption and personal growth—transform what might otherwise have been a dour drama into a thoughtful dramedy. Though many words could describe Lucky Them, two are fitting: thoroughly enjoyable.
Lucky Them hits theaters on May 30.
Featured Image: Thomas Haden Church (Charlie) and Toni Collette (Ellie Klug) in Megan Griffiths’ LUCKY THEM. Courtesy of IFC Films.
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