“Oh Lucy”–movie review   Leave a comment


“Lucy” opens with a crowd of people on a train station in Tokyo. Most of the people are wearing surgical masks and, as the train approaches, a man, after whispering ‘Goodbye’ in Setsuko’s ear, jumps in front of the train. Not a scream is heard and everyone, including Setsuko, go on with their lives, which for her means a dull job, living in a small apartment, obviously a hoarder and very much alone except for her niece.

It is her niece, Mika, who convinces her aunt to take over the English class she has been going and had paid in advance for which money she would lose unless Setsuko will give her the money and go to the class. Mika, for an unexplained reason, doesn’t seem to be able to turn to her mother while the sisters Setsuko and Ayako have had a falling out for years over something that is just brushed over and shouldn’t be.

Enrolling in the English class we meet American teacher John who teaches ‘American’ English like no teacher has ever taught it before and which he explains means ‘lazy and relaxed’. He puts a blond wig on Setsuko’s head after hugging her and gives her the new name of Lucy. In the class, she meets another student, Komori, who John renames Tom.

Very shortly, without giving any spoilers, the film goes from Tokyo to Southern California and goes into a completely different angle, at many points going off track.

Shinobu Terajima does an excellent job as Setsuko/Lucy showing her changes as the latter and, where she could easily be disliked, makes her likable along with being forgiven for many things she does.

Josh Hartnett as John is woefully underwritten but does what he can with the role as does Shioli Kutsuna who has a good turn as the niece once the film gets to California. Kaho Minami, as Setsuko/Lucy’s sister, is brittle, angry yet funny and, at times. Annoying as she should be. Though Koji Yakusho has a fairly small role at two points in the movie he delivers and seems the most comfortable of all the players plus what makes him the way he is certainly is explained better than any other character.

Director Atsuko Hirayanagi, who also co-wrote the screenplay with Boris Frumin, fumbles here and there, mostly when the film goes to California. There is a clumsy, unnecessary sex scene, too many flaws regarding character’s backgrounds and, possibly minor, the aunt and niece learn a lot of ‘American English’ much too quickly.

“Oh, Lucy” appears to be sold as a comedy but is definitely more of a drama. It is a quirky kind of film, certainly different and because of that worth seeing


Movie trailer


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