Directed by Megan Griffiths
Starring Toni Collette, Thomas Haden Church, Ahna O'Reilly, Joanne Woodward and Oliver Platt
More interested in partying and flirting with young musicians than work, veteran rock journalist Ellie Klug has one last chance to prove her value to her magazine’s editor: a no-stone-unturned search to discover what really happened to long lost rock god, Matt Smith, who also happens to be her ex-boyfriend. Teaming up with an eccentric amateur documentary filmmaker, Ellie hits the road in search of answers.
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★★★½ review by Cindy T on Letterboxd
Just a few notes from the Tribeca Film Festival. No time for a proper review.
Lucky Them is one to see for the ensemble cast, which includes Toni Collette, Thomas Haden Church, Oliver Platt, Nina Arianda, and newcomer Ryan Eggold. Collette portrays Ellie, a music journalist who is assigned by her boss (Platt) to track down her old boyfriend, a legendary musician who mysteriously disappeared years ago. To finance the search, Ellie partners with a wealthy man (Church) who wants to make a documentary about her search.
The film works when Collette and Church share the screen. They have chemistry and quip lines at each with perfect timing. The film bounces between a light, comedic tone and a serious one in which love's regrets are at focus.
Most interesting about this film is its origins. The film began as a project supported by Paul Newman (who happens to be my cinematic idol). Joanne Woodward is an executive producer on the film, which is dedicated to Newman.
Another interesting thing about Lucky Them is the major star who portrays the disappeared musician boyfriend. The role is uncredited. If you look hard enough online, you can probably find out the star's name, but I recommend being surprised if you plan to see the film. There was an audible gasp by the audience at my screening when the actor is shown in the story. I love stuff like that.
Lucky Them is the most commercial film that I've seen at the festival. It's a little bit too fluffy to satisfy me completely, but I think it will appeal to the masses.
In the Q&A, every actor said the reason they got involved with the film was because they wanted to work with Collette, who stood on stage and blushed at their responses.
★★★★ review by Mike D'Angelo on Letterboxd
A.V. Club review. Shockingly good, especially given how little I was impressed by what I saw of Eden (which this in no way resembles). Bucks formula at every turn. Collette is magnificent, and Church, whose dumbbell shtick in Sideways never quite clicked for me, here creates one of the most indelible comic personae in recent memory, beautifully enhancing the film's stealth narrative. My one big reservation involves the resolution of the Matthew Smith mystery—that scene is truly heartrending (thanks to Collette), and couldn't be more ideally cast, but the can of worms this encounter would open up (on both sides, especially his) is left entirely unexplored, and the whole thing as played feels a bit too easy. Griffiths won me back over with the final shot, though, which is just perfectly composed.
Also, the antecedent to the titular pronoun are these things. Seriously.
★★★★ review by Kristhian Morales on Letterboxd
Lucky Them is so far the best surprise of the year for me. It starts on shaky ground — the premise of a paid rock journalist looking for her proto-Cobain ex-boyfriend in order to save her job seems like something out of a 90's Nick Horby script — but after the first act the movie keeps zagging where you expect a zig and then does it again and again until you give into the fact that you are watching a movie completely uninterested in a straightforward narrative. That doesn't mean that Lucky Them is a hard film to follow, far from it, but it sets a clear journey at the outset that it then refuses to adhere to for much of the running time, which in this day and age is refreshing.
I recently watched Alexander Payne's Sideways and found it a competent but unrewarding effort. Lucky Them has many of the same elements (it's a road trip movie of sorts and Thomas Haden Church plays a semi-comedic part in both), but it avoids all the usual cliches, including having the characters over-explain their intentions/frustrations verbally. Credit must be given to Toni Collette who sells every character moment she's given. There's a scene towards the end of the film where she conveys how reaching a set destination so often doesn't bring the closure expected without saying many words and she nails it.
The movie does reach the conclusion promised by the premise but by the end the resolution of the emotional arcs comes from a completely different source. It's a gentle, unexpected moment in a movie filled with them.
★★★★ review by Tasha Robinson on Letterboxd
One of the best things I've seen at Tribeca, a sparky, acerbic sort-of road movie that often doesn't make it to the road. Toni Collette plays a jaded music writer with a bad habit of sleeping with her interviewees, or really anyone in a band; Thomas Haden Church is her awful friend who enables her schemes; Oliver Platt is the boss who's fed up with her and ready to fire her if she doesn't produce something worthy of her skills. So she goes on the hunt to track down a former flame, a music superstar who seemingly committed suicide a decade previously, though she's personally at least partially convinced he isn't dead. The comedy and drama elements both work nicely; this isn't a deep movie, but it's an effective one, and Church in particular is immensely enjoyable.
★★★½ review by Brian Tallerico on Letterboxd
I want to live in the alternate universe where Collette gets a part like this every 6 months. Maybe even every 3 months. When she gets a really solid part, she's great. And she's great here.
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