Noah Hawley’s “Lucy in the Sky” world premiered at Toronto International Film Festival. The film stars Academy Award winner Natalie Portman as astronaut Lucy Cola, who returns to Earth just after a remarkable mission in space. She begins to grow distant from her reality and pursues another opportunity to head back off the planet. The film also stars Jon Hamm, Zazie Beetz, Dan Stevens, Pearl Amanda Dickson and Ellen Burstyn.
The official selection synopsis from TIFF reads:
As astronaut Lucy Cola (Natalie Portman) gazes at Earth from afar while on a mission, her view of the pale blue dot profoundly shifts her entire perspective. When she returns, all Lucy wants is to go back to space — no matter what. Her modest family life loses its allure and the comforting support of her gentle husband Drew (Dan Stevens) is suddenly less appealing than the masculine charisma of a fellow astronaut, Mark (Jon Hamm), a divorcee disconcertingly eager to encourage an affair. As she determinedly trains for her next mission, her growing dissociation threatens to dismantle both her personal and professional lives.
Hawley has been around television, working on the FX series “Legion” and Fargo.” He directs with a script he revised from Brian C. Brown and Elliott DiGuiseppi. First reactions out of TIFF are applauding Portman’s performance even if the general consensus are panning the film around her. On top of Portman’s Oscar for “Black Swan,” she has also been nominated for her roles in Mike Nichols’ “Closer” and Pablo Larraín’s “Jackie.”
For Variety, Peter Debruge writes in his review:
Hawley [is] a gifted visual storyteller who triple-knots his own shoelaces here, stumbling over cumbersome metaphors… when he should have just entrusted his leading lady to carry the narrative.
Read some of the first reactions for “Lucy in the Sky” out of TIFF from Twitter:
#LucyintheSky another one of those films with a great lead performance (Natalie Portman obviously) that doesn’t fire on every cylinders but is still a compelling must see story. Portman could credibly make the final five but it will be close #TIFF2019 #TIFF19
— J Don Birnam @ TIFF2019 (@jdonbirnam) September 12, 2019
Lucy in the Sky is a mainstream fake version of a true story that really did involve poopy diapers— but this one is sanitized. Natalie Portman and Jon Hamm cannot save it. #tiff2019
— Anne Thompson (@akstanwyck) September 12, 2019
LUCY IN THE SKY is a massive miss. A languid paced psychological snooze, a scattershot of no cares plot and scenes, only made interesting by the dead end creative choices. Ultimately, a waste of Natalie Portman. #TIFF19
— Robert Daniels @ TIFF (@812filmreviews) September 12, 2019
In case you're wondering #lucyinthesky is about a woman's existential crisis. It's also about looking at a real human being behind a scandalous tabloid headline. The acute humanity of falling from the sky. #TIFF19 #TIFF2019
— Katherine Brodsky (@mysteriouskat) September 12, 2019
Lucy in the Sky features another impressive performance from Natalie Portman who plays an astronaut having an existential crisis. Noah Hawley brings his unique visual style to the project but the script is very messy and lacks an emotional punch. #LucyInTheSky #TIFF19 pic.twitter.com/0UKSjztoP7
— Scott Menzel @ Toronto International Film Festival (@TheOtherScottM) September 12, 2019
There were elements of #LucyInTheSky that I enjoyed: the vfx, the way the screen ratio kept messing about and also #NataliePortman of course, …. but ultimately I just didn’t find it to be all that riveting.
It was a film that came and went.#TIFF #TIFF2019 #TIFF19 pic.twitter.com/QdDB9SeZqr
— Rama's Screen @ TIFF (@RamasScreen) September 12, 2019
LUCY IN THE SKY: Before the film began, Noah Hawley seemed less than sure about it. He had reason to be: His film is a meandering misfire , never quite sure of what it wants to accomplish, or how to get there. Portman tries hard, but can’t salvage it. #TIFF19
— Piers Marchant (@Kafkaesque83) September 12, 2019
Fox Searchlight will distribute the film in theaters. It releases December 6.