Lucky (CIFF 2017)

It’s more than likely that, had Harry Dean Stanton survived until its release, most of us would never have even thought about seeing Lucky. The truth of the matter is that it’s the type of movie that would get a limited release, probably come out on VOD shortly thereafter, and while the people who see it would enjoy it, it wouldn’t get talked about. Now, we view it with retrospective lens, using it as a way to look back on the career of its leading man, appreciate his work over the years, and say our goodbyes—which all become even more impactful given the themes of the movie, which involve life and death, mortality, and faith.

Stanton plays “Lucky,” an elderly man who spends his days smoking, walking around town, eating at diners, doing crossword puzzles, and watching game shows. The movie follows him as he does that and, through his various encounters—including a trip to the doctor’s office—allows him to ruminate on the aforementioned themes, eventually coming to a conclusion that, while not surprising, is sweeter and more uplifting than you’d think.

Harry Dean Stanton is great in the lead role. He’s always been good, but usually in much smaller parts. He’s captivating here, especially with the knowledge that it’s his last one. The film was reportedly written as a tribute to Stanton, and if this is how one has to end a career, it’s a good way to do it. In smaller roles are Tom Skerritt, James Darren, Beth Grant, Ron Livingston, and—of all people—David Lynch, who is a bad actor but nonetheless fun to watch here as a man whose pet tortoise runs away from him. Lucky isn’t the best movie you’ll see, but if you were a fan of Harry Dean Stanton it is an absolute must-see.

Conclusion: Lucky is a good movie that’s more poignant and powerful due to its release following Harry Dean Stanton’s death.

Recommendation: Fans of Harry Dean Stanton need to see Lucky as soon as possible.

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