Lucky Them

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Lucky Them Movie Poster Image
Offbeat romantic dramedy has some swearing, sex.
  • R
  • 2014
  • 96 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Sometimes, your biggest foe is yourself. So it may be best to work on yourself rather than creating distractions from doing so.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Ellie is deeply conflicted, but she's aware of her weaknesses and tries to deal with them.

Violence

Verbal arguments and lots of talk about how one character may have committed suicide by jumping into a waterfall.

Sex

Couples make out in bed; male torsos and women's shoulders are bare. References to "glory holes" and a 14-year-old losing his virginity to a 40-something housekeeper. One scene shows a couple having sex against a wall (the woman's face and the back of the man's head are visible). One scene has a man ogling a woman's (covered) breasts; she calls him out on it.

Language

Strong but not constant language includes "hell," "s--t" (and "s--thead"), and "f--k."
 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Social drinking in bars and restaurants. One character drinks more heavily when her work and personal lives both start to fall apart. One man smokes weed in his office. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Lucky Them is rooted in a melancholy premise: A journalist is assigned a career-saving story about a musician she used to love who walked out on her and is thought to have killed himself. While there are plenty of lighter moments, it definitely treads on themes that are too heavy for younger viewers, including suicide and emotional recklessness. Adults drink, sometimes out of stress; smoke weed; and fail to confront their demons. Expect some swearing (including "f--k") and scenes showing couples making out and having sex (though there's no graphic nudity).

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What's the story?

Ellie (Toni Collette) is writer for Stax magazine, a renowned music publication that's now barely hanging on to its supremacy. Her editor (Oliver Platt) tells her that it's time to shake things up and turn in a fine piece of writing that will showcase her true talent. (It's either that or risk being fired.) So he assigns her a story: Figure out what happened to her ex-boyfriend Matthew, a musician who disappeared at the height of his fame 10 years earlier. With the help of an eccentric documentary filmmaker (Thomas Haden Church) with whom she shares a past, Ellie just may find out what really happened.

Is it any good?

In some ways, LUCKY THEM is disappointing. With a lead like Colette and a supporting cast that includes Church and Platt, you expect magic. But what you get instead is a fairly good movie hobbled unfairly by a plot whose end point you can guess halfway through the movie.

But in other ways, Lucky Them is smart and knowing and interesting. Colette deserves praise for this. She anchors Ellie with a weary aimlessness that's quite accessible. We've all been there before, toeing the line between completely destroying your life and living it, if not successfully, at least with commitment. And when she finds her resolution -- and it's wholly hers, even if it may not be what all viewers might wish for her -- it's gratifyingly hard-won.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Lucky Them deals with the topic of suicide. Does it address it seriously?

  • What do you think about the movie's ending? How is it different, or similar to, other quasi-romantic comedies? Is Ellie portrayed as a damsel in distress?

  • Talk about Ellie and the way she copes, or doesn't. What's her biggest enemy? Does she get in her own way? How does the movie show this?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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