By Jeffrey Anderson,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Pulpy, violent sci-fi actioner is entertaining, thoughtful.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Through its sci-fi concept (and in between fights, shoot outs, and chases), the movie makes several interesting, thoughtful pronouncements: that humans are currently more concerned with having than with being, that nothing ever truly dies, that ignorance creates chaos but knowledge does not, and that we as humans have the capability to change things.
Positive Role Models
Lucy engages in brutal violence with no consequences, and no one in real life could emulate her. But she also has a strength and dedication that's inspiring in a female movie hero. And after she solves the immediate problem of her survival, she genuinely wishes to use her powers for good and for the future of mankind.
Violence & Scariness
Strong fantasy violence, with lots of blood. Many characters are shot and killed, with blood splattering all over. Characters' hands and faces are covered in blood. Characters are used as drug mules, and the drugs are sewn up inside their intestines, requiring several bloody surgeries throughout the movie. Many chases and shoot outs with random death and destruction throughout. The main female character is grabbed, manhandled, punched, and kicked in several early scenes. She shoots and kills several bad guys without consequence. A character is stabbed in the hands with knives.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A documentary-type flashback shows animals having sex, followed by a woman having sex with a man in a car; nothing sensitive is shown, but what they're doing is clear enough. This is followed by images of birth, both animals and humans. The main character is sometimes sexualized through her outfits. In two instances, male characters place their hands down the front of her top. In one scene, Lucy, while fully clothed, spreads her legs apart to seduce a guard, though she quickly defeats him. Lucy kisses a helpful cop.
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"S--t" is used twice. "Ass," "a--hole," and "hell" are also heard.
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Products & Purchases
A bottle of Evian water is used to clean a character's bloody hands. A Peugeot is driven during a car chase. Samsung products appear a few times.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Fictitious drugs and drug smuggling are a major part of the plot. A crazed junkie snorts the new drug. Viewers see a brief flashback of a character drinking a shot in a bar. She drinks a shot of whisky with the bad guy while preparing to become a drug mule. And she drinks a sip of champagne on an airplane. The bad guy smokes a cigarette.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Lucy is a sci-fi/action movie starring Scarlett Johansson. The violence gets fairly graphic, with lots of shoot outs and blood splattering everywhere. The main female character is manhandled, punched, and kicked, and she also kills some bad guys without consequence. The plot concerns fictitious drugs and using drug mules to smuggle them, which requires some bloody operations to get them in and out of people's bellies. There are some quick documentary-like flashback scenes of sex between animals as well as between humans, and the main character sometimes wears sexy, objectifying outfits. Language isn't frequent but does contain at least two uses of "s--t." Characters sometimes drink alcohol. It's all pretty intense, but the movie is so slick and thoughtful that teens may come away thinking about the ideas more than the iffy content.
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Based on 16 parent reviews
Entertaining and interesting
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Silly Darwinian Philosophy Theory sold as Science and Truth.
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What's the Story?
Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) is a pretty normal young woman, living in Taipei and dating a delivery guy for the local mob. But when she gets roped into delivering a suitcase to the boss, Mr. Jang (Choi Min-sik), she unwittingly becomes a mule for a new kind of drug, carrying it in her stomach cavity. When the bag bursts and the drug is released, Lucy discovers untapped portions of her brain beginning to work. She's suddenly able to see and feel everything. As the drug continues to open up her brain, she begins to be able to move matter. She decides to collect the rest of the drug to buy herself some time and then meet with brain expert Professor Norman (Morgan Freeman) to decide what to do with her knowledge. But Mr. Jang is on her trail.
Is It Any Good?
Scientists have already pointed out that the idea that humans use only 10 percent of the brain is a myth, but that shouldn't detract from the fun of Luc Besson's terrific LUCY. It's a movie that manages to be thoughtful and exciting at the same time. Smarter than Transcendence and more exhilarating than Limitless, Lucy showcases Besson's skill and enthusiasm. His wide frame is filled with colorful cityscapes and a dazzling array of information and input. His jokey little documentary flashbacks broaden the scope, and he crafts slick, clear, superior action sequences.
Yet the movie hinges on Johannson's potent, searching performance, constantly recording the information around her. Her process, moving from struggle to awareness, is highly appealing. (When she pauses to phone her mom, her need is fully apparent.) Then, after all the fighting is done, Lucy leaves mankind with a message of hope. It may be a silly, pulpy "B" movie, but it's a good one.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about Lucy's violence. How much was necessary to get across the movie's point? Was it enough? Too much? How did it make you feel?
How does the drug smuggling subplot enhance or detract from the movie as a whole?
What does the main character learn with her enhanced intellect? What lessons can be taken away from this movie?
Is the main character a strong female role model? Why or why not?
What scientific concepts did you learn from the movie? What further research would you be interested in doing? Do humans really only use 10 percent of their brain?
- In theaters: July 25, 2014
- On DVD or streaming: January 20, 2015
- Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman, Analeigh Tipton
- Director: Luc Besson
- Inclusion Information: Black actors
- Studio: Universal Pictures
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong violence, disturbing images, and sexuality
- Last updated: June 2, 2023
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