PLOT: An astronaut (Natalie Portman) returning to earth after a mission has bother making sense of her earthbound life and falls right into a self-destructive relationship with one other NASA vet (Jon Hamm).
REVIEW: Showrunners as feature-film administrators are by no means a positive factor. For each J. J. Abrams or Joss Whedon, there’s a Ryan Murphy (who struck out with RUNNING WITH SCISSORS and EAT, PRAY, LOVE) or Matthew Weiner (whose ARE YOU HERE was just about unreleasable). Add Noah Hawley to the listing of ones that couldn’t make the leap to the massive display, a minimum of not on his first strive, with LUCY IN THE SKY a careless potboiler that’s maybe good as camp however definitely received’t fulfil the ambitions a spot on the autumn schedule and a berth at TIFF recommend they’ve for it at Fox Searchlight.
Hawley’s been let off the chain right here, but it surely’s an overloaded first characteristic, framed by a showy, vacuous resolution to maintain shifting facet ratios, one thing that occurs continually all through the 124 minutes operating time, and proves to be a serious distraction in a character-driven drama. One other film right here at TIFF, WAVES, did it with extra model and restraint, however Hawley goes all in on a gimmick that by no means works.
Ultimately although, that’s the least of the film’s issues. It’s anchored by a Natalie Portman efficiency that borders on excessive camp, together with her affecting a southern accent and sporting a pageboy haircut that, just like the ratios, merely serves as a distraction. The movie begins sturdy, with Portman expertly conveying her character’s wonderment, however after they get right down to earth the issues begin.
For one factor, she appears to have a extremely onerous time taking part in unhinged. For individuals who don’t know, the film relies on the very-tabloid pleasant story of astronaut Lisa Nowak, though its fictionalized to a point. Maybe this might have made for a very good psychological drama, however Hawley reveals no restraint by any means. He’s all the time going for large moments and climaxes, which supplies the movie a ridiculous high quality. You finally wind up feeling such as you’re watching a very costly Lifetime authentic film with A-list stars.
Portman is simply pretty much as good as her materials right here, and he or she performs it to the hilt, making her character subsequent to unattainable to spend money on as she by no means feels actual. Likewise, Dan Stevens is just too one-note a goody-goody as her good man hubby. Solely Jon Hamm fares nicely as arguably probably the most attention-grabbing character, a NASA unhealthy boy who will get a number of moments of introspection, like when he watches footage of the Challenger explosion on a loop earlier than suiting up for a mission. Ellen Burstyn additionally pops up as Portman’s grandmother in a task that feels extraneous, however much like Ann Dowd within the current THE KITCHEN, she appears to be the one one conscious of how campy the film she’s in actually is.
It’s too unhealthy that Hawley’s debut has gone on to turn out to be so reviled right here at TIFF (solely THE GOLDFINCH fared worse with reviewers), as his work on the small display is nice, with “Fargo” top-of-the-line reveals of our period. Secure to say, he’s conquered long-form story-telling, however motion pictures show to be a problem he hasn’t but mastered.