Getting old is not for the weak of heart. That said, I was delighted to stumble onto this gem. Lucky is a beautiful character study on facing your own mortality. Will this film connect with all ages? Find out in my review.
Lucky, an American drama was directed by John Carroll Lynch and stars Harry Dean Stanton, David Lynch (no relation to the director), Ron Livingston, Ed Begley Jr., Tom Skerritt, Barry Shabaka Henley, Beth Grant, Yvonne Huff Lee, Bertila Damas, and my favourite rock and roll singer/actor from my teen years, James Darren.
Lucky (Harry Dean Stanton) is a 90-year-old bachelor who lives in the small town of Piru California. He is a Veteran from WW2, and we, the audience, are invited to follow Lucky through his daily routines which include his visit to the town’s café, and at night, the local bar. Lucky ‘s house is in the desert and surrounded by Saguaro cacti. The saguaro cactus can live up to 220 years and is a source of food and shelter for many desert animals.
Harry Dean Stanton, who was 89 when he played in this film, died only weeks before its commercial release. We get to follow Stanton’s brusque character from the time that Lucky wakes up to his first of many cigarettes, followed by a tall glass of milk, and later a bit of rigorous yoga exercise routines. Lucky lives by routine, including his love for crossword puzzles and game shows.
We follow Lucky as each day he visits the local café and talks about life with the head cook (Barry Shabaka Henley) and waitress (Yvonne Huff Lee). They care about this lonely old man, and although Lucky is curt with Joe the cook and Loretta the waitress, he cares about them, also.
One night while visiting the local bar that is owned by Elaine (Beth Grant) and her husband, Paulie (James Darren), Lucky learns that his friend, Howard (David Lynch) is heartbroken because his tortoise, Theodore Roosevelt, has run away. A side note: David Lynch and Harry Dean Stanton had worked together in other projects including “Twin Peaks: The Return.” Seeing these two giants together in this film only adds to the charm and makes the story more personable to the viewer.
This film is about friendship, and we, the audience, are drawn into the camaraderie between Stanton’s character and the people who call him friend. When Lucky suffers from a dizzy spell, his doctor (Ed Begley Jr.) is amazed at the physical status of the old man sitting before him. Although Lucky smokes a pack a day, and drinks Bloody Mary’s at night, he is in great shape. Lucky is in good enough shape to challenge a lawyer (Ron Livingston) to a fight. Lucky feels that the lawyer is taking advantage of Howard who wants to leave his fortune to the missing tortoise. The movie takes on a positive note after Lucky has a conversation with another veteran (Tom Skerritt). I think the sweetest part of the film is when Lucky attends a party hosted by Bibi (Bertila Damas).
I enthusiastically recommend you watch this film…no matter what your age is. The writing is crisp, and the acting is superb. How could it be any less with all these fantastic and talented actors on board.
Yes, Lucky might be a tale about surviving a long life, but it also reveals that life is not only about our youth, but about the lessons learned and the friendships that have outlasted time itself.