It’s not very difficult to see why Lucy was such a success at the box office. The film has Scarlet Johanssen, who is an amazing actress, and also extremely good looking. Ladies out there (and let’s face it, some guys) may live vicariously through this kick-ass female character who just so happens to have unlimited physical and psychological control over anyone, including a bunch of characters that are mostly men. So it’s clear to see an underlying gender commentary in the narrative. Take it as you will.
But here’s the thing: Lucy isn’t about a kickass, powerful, intimidating female character. the fact that she accesses more areas and a greater percentage of her brain is testament to this. She trancends human existence.
Most people who watched Lucy judged it from their own perspective, which is pretty normal because that’s what we tend to do as human beings. But it’s also the most ironic thing about the film. Lucy’s main hypothesis (Can we call a statement by the all-knowing Lucy a hypothesis?) that she puts forward to Professor Norman and his colleagues is that our bodies, and the things around us, are not actually measured on the scales we have created. Every construct we use to measure anything at all, they’re all just barriers to a higher form of existence. Everything is actually connected and can take on different forms and functions depending on the immediate
I made the joke with my sister that Lucy is the prequel to Her. Lucy ends with the main character uploading her subconscious online, becoming a ubiquitous entity with unparalleled powers. Her, as those who have seen it may know, is about a guy falling in love with his state-of-the-art operating system as she develops sentience. It just so happens that Johannsen voices the operating system in Her as well. Neat.
Speaking of actors/ actresses playing similar roles in different films, another actor who seems to be leading the way on higher forms of conscience integrated with technology is Morgan Freeman who co-stars alongside Johannsen in Lucy. He had a role in Transcendence, which stars Johny Depp; and while it didn’t have as much success at the box office, was very similar to Lucy.
I enjoyed the film overall, but a major critique from my side is that Lucy is based on a book that relies heavily on the experience of the character as she undergoes this metamorphosis. The issue with transforming this story into a film is that it’s hard to capture thoughts with visual content alone.
The result is that Lucy has to verbalize her thoughts to help you gain the full details in order to understand her experience. The best example of this is her call to her mother from the hospital, where she describes every detail from her youth, back to when she was an infant. While this is done beautifully by Scarlet Johannsen, who (once again I have to say) is an amazing actress, it’s terrible from a screenwriting perspective, and quite frankly, created some very cringe-worthy moments for the audience.
Overall Lucy is a good watch for any occasion.
Favourite Quote: “We humans are more concerned with having than with being.” – Professor Norman. Now that’s some existential shit right there.
About the Author: Stephen is a filmmaker and critic who loves a good kick-ass action film like Lucy. Check him out on Twitter for more film ramblings.