10 Reasons to see LUCY

I found this semi-review from 2014 — which I wrote in about 7 minutes on Facebook — about the Scarlett Johannson vehicle, LUCY. After re-reading this, and given that the Black Widow movie was just released, it seemed to me that this was as good a time as any to revisit my thoughts from seven years ago.

But before we get started, here’s the movie’s trailer, because it’s probably been years since you’ve seen it.


1. Scarlett Johannson. She’s pretty great. By which I mean she’s pretty, and she’s a great actress. Pretty great.

2. It is not a by-the-book formulaic movie. If you like films where the studio and director “take chances,” this is the kind of movie to support.

3. Summer blockbusters with female leads — If you want more of them, you need to support the few that are coming out. If you want that solo Black Widow movie, support ScarJo in her other leading roles. In fact, this movie only has a handful of white American males in it. So if you want to support diversity in movies, see Lucy.

4. This isn’t the stupid action movie that the trailers make it out to be. It’s actually one that could have you questioning reality around you — Kind of like the first Matrix movie did, back in 1999.

5. Yes, we know that humans actually use more than 10% of their brains in everyday life. But this premise is no more ridiculous than any of the superhero movies that have been dominating box offices for the last decade. Seriously, if you’re going to accept RADIOACTIVE SPIDER BITES giving someone super-powers, give this premise a shot. It works for this movie.

6. Character development; This is a movie where the lead character starts as one thing, and ends up as something completely different. 90% different, in fact.

7. It’s NOT 3 hours long. In fact, it’s exactly half of that, with a running time of 90 minutes. Get in, enjoy your hour and a half, get out. Not that there’s anything wrong with longer movies, but it’s nice that not everything has to be Lord of the Rings all the time.

8. It came out at a weird point in the summer. I mean, what else are you going to see this weekend? Hercules? You’re probably going to see Guardians of the Galaxy next weekend, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles the weekend after that. Lucy has THIS WEEK to make any kind of money. So go see it.

9. Despite some pretty gruesome stuff happening during the setup of this movie, it’s actually pretty good about NOT showing too much gore. There are blood spatters and blood stains throughout, but anything too gross takes place off-camera. I really appreciated that.

10. This isn’t a movie for everybody, but it might be the movie for you. Especially if you like: Science fiction, movies that make you think, movies that question reality, cool action scenes, set in locations other than New York/Los Angeles, evolution, movies with female leads, action movies with female leads, strong female characters, strong lead characters, likable lead characters, movies with anti-terrorist themes, and like a couple dozen more things I can’t think of the right words for at the moment.

LUCY isn’t perfect, by any means. And this was absolutely the WRONG weekend to release the movie. But it was a much better movie than I was expecting based on those awful trailers, and I want to support movies that aren’t by-the-book moneymakers. I want to see some experimentation in cinema. I want to see more variation in plot and cast alike.

Back to 2021: Of course, in hindsight, LUCY ended up becoming a huge hit with a box office of over $460 million on a budget of $40 million. That’s over ELEVEN TIMES its production cost, which is an insane amount of money.

I was 100% wrong in thinking people would prefer to see Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in another Hercules remake on the same weekend. And in this instance, I’m glad I was wrong. Nothing against DJ, but in 2014, Hollywood desparately needed evidence that female-led action movies were profitable.

So how about it, Hollywood? Can we get some more weird, sci-fi shit like this that isn’t just based on pre-existing properties?

As of the time of this post, LUCY is streaming on Hulu with a premium subscription, or is on-demand via TNT with a cable subscription. All the other outlets have it available for digital rental for about $3.99. Or you can get the BluRay via Best Buy or Amazon for less than 10 dollars.