Lucky (2017 American film)

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Lucky (2017 film).png
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJohn Carroll Lynch
Produced by
Screenplay by
  • Logan Sparks
  • Drago Sumonja
Music byElvis Kuehn
CinematographyTim Suhrstedt
  • Superlative Films
  • Divide / Conquer
  • Lagralane Group
Distributed byMagnolia Pictures
Release date
  • March 11, 2017 (2017-03-11) (SXSW)[1]
CountryUnited States
Box office$955,925[2]

Lucky is a 2017 American drama film, starring Harry Dean Stanton and directed by John Carroll Lynch from a screenplay by Logan Sparks and Drago Sumonja. It was Stanton's final on screen role before his death at the age of 91 on September 15 2017.


Lucky tells the story of a 90-year-old man (Harry Dean Stanton) and his struggle against encroaching old age. The film depicts his coming to terms with his own mortality, as he searches for enlightenment.

The film starts with Lucky waking up in the morning, smoking a cigarette, and then doing some yoga. He lives alone in a small house in the small desert town of Piru, California. He drinks a glass of cold milk (the only thing in his refrigerator). Later he heads to a diner for coffee where he is on friendly terms with the owner Joe (Barry Shabaka Henley) and the staff. Joe suggests he quit smoking or it will kill him. Lucky claims that if it could he would have died already. He stays and works on his crossword puzzle from his daily newspaper. He walks to a local market where he buys another pack of cigarettes and another carton of milk. The owner, Bibi, tells him that her son Juan (Spanish for John) is having his tenth birthday in one week and is becoming closer to a man, so Lucky calls him Juan Wayne on his way out. That evening, Lucky stops at a bar and has a few Bloody Marys with the locals who frequent the establishment. One of the regulars named Howard (David Lynch) is depressed since his pet tortoise, which has outlived two of his wives, has escaped.

The next morning, Lucky is having his a cup of coffee when he becomes light headed and falls over. At the doctor's office he is given a clean bill of health. Dr. Christian Kneedler (Ed Begley Jr.) tells Lucky that he has outsmoked and outlived most his same age fellows who have ailments and that he considers Lucky... a wonder of medical science. He tells Lucky his own father died about a year ago, the look on Lucky's face suggests that he has known the Doctor for many years. Possibly since he was a child.

At the diner later that morning, he says he fell and everyone who usually jokes with him become concerned, not wanting to feel like a burden and that his time is short he leaves the diner after saying, "What's the fucking point?"

That night, Lucky calls a friend while he is watching TV. He tells his friend that when he was a boy he accidentally shot a mockingbird with his BB gun. He says the silence was devastating and it was the saddest thing he had ever seen. He thanks his friend for listening and hangs up.

At the bar, Lucky listens to the story from one of the bar regulars named Paulie (James Darren) about how he met and married his first wife and Lucky reflects that he has never been married or had any lasting relationship. Lucky then sees Howard talking with a lawyer named Bobby Lawrence (Ron Livingston) about making a will for himself and wanting to leave all of his possessions to his pet tortoise which Howard has named 'President Roosevelt'. Lucky begins causing a scene over Howard's life choices that everyone in this world is alone and is meant to be.

Another day or two later, one of the diner staff, named Loretta (Yvonne Huff), visits Lucky to check on him. While smoking marijuana, Lucky shows Loretta old photos of his military service in the US Navy and they watch old VHS tapes of Liberace performing in concert as Lucky comments on his past life how he never got married or settled down.

While having coffee at the diner, Lucky runs into the lawyer Bobby Lawrence where he confides in him about his accident days earlier. Bobby tells Lucky about a time when he nearly got into a car accident that could have been fatal and comments on being prepared for the unexpected.

Lucky visits a pet store to look for a small animal to adopt as a companion, but he instead decides on a packet of live crickets.

At the diner the next morning, Lucky meets a tourist named Fred (Tom Skerritt) whom he chats up a conversation after learning that Fred used to be a Marines veteran who served in World War II. Lucky tells Fred about his time in the US Navy during the war in the Pacific and of his evading death several times during combat. He shares that his nickname arose from him having the relatively safe job of cook on an LST.

Fred tells lucky a moving story from his experiences during the war in the Pacific. After the Marines secured the beach, the locals began to commit suicide, jumping from cliffs. The Japanese had told them, Fred explains, that the Americans would kill and rape them. In the mayhem of battle, Fred recounts, he had encountered a young girl. Amidst all the carnage, she was smiling, with a smile that seemed to come from the core of her being. Fred wondered how she could smile in the midst of all that misery and death. One of Fred's fellow soldiers explains that the girl is a Buddhist; she thinks that they are about to kill her and she is smiling at the prospect. "There are no medals for bravery like that," Fred remarks.

Lucky attends Bibi's son Juan's birthday party and comes to enjoy the company and even sings a song in Spanish for the attendees.

That evening, Lucky goes back to the bar for his Bloody Mary drinks as usual where he chats up talk with Howard, Paulie and others about his life. Howard still has not found his tortoise and claims that it was "meant to be" of his companion leaving and that all things must eventually come to an end. Lucky then lights up a cigarette at the bar, despite being told not to by the owner, Elaine, and brings up his public smoking that got him banned from a place called Eve's. Lucky explains that everything goes away eventually and we are left with Nothing. Elaine asks what you are supposed to do with Nothing. Lucky replies that you smile. The remark transforms the mood of the bar; Lucky lights up his cigarette and steps outside.

The next morning, Lucky wakes up and goes into his usual routine with drinking his cup of hot black coffee, doing yoga, and drinking a glass of cold milk. He then sets the clock on his coffee machine to the correct time and cleans up his house for the first time in months. He goes for a walk through town as he always does and passes by an outdoor botanic garden which is named 'Eve's' where he was banned for public smoking. In the desert, Lucky lights up a cigarette, looks up at a tall and imposing cactus with smaller cacti growing from it, breaks the fourth wall by staring directly into the camera and smiling, and begins his walk back to town. In the final shot as Lucky walks down the desert trail path alone, a tortoise walks across the path from one end to the other before disappearing in the desert bushes.



On July 7, 2016, it was revealed that Lucky had begun filming in Los Angeles.[3]

On April 7, 2017, it was announced that Magnolia Pictures acquired U.S. and international rights to distribute the film.[4]


On Rotten Tomatoes, Lucky has a rating of 97%, based on 139 reviews, with an average score of 7.82/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Lucky is a bittersweet meditation on mortality, punctuating the career of beloved character actor Harry Dean Stanton."[5] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 80 out of 100, based on 34 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[6]

Matt Zoller Seitz of gave the film four out of four stars, writing that the film is:

Seitz later named Lucky as the best film of 2017, stating that "I didn't expect much more than indie-film quirk when I read the description of this film, but emotionally it destroyed me."[8]


Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result Ref.
Camerimage International Film Festival November 18, 2017 Directors' Debuts Competition John Carroll Lynch Nominated [9]
Chicago Film Critics Association December 12, 2017 Best Actor Harry Dean Stanton Nominated [10]
Most Promising Filmmaker John Carroll Lynch Nominated
Gijón International Film Festival November 25, 2017 AISGE Award for Best Actor Harry Dean Stanton Won [11]
Best Original Score Elvis Kuehn Won
Gotham Independent Film Awards November 27, 2017 Best Actor Harry Dean Stanton Nominated [12]
Haifa International Film Festival October 14, 2017 Carmel Award for Best Film Lucky Nominated [13]
Fedeora Award - Directors of Tomorrow John Carroll Lynch Won [14]
Lisbon & Estoril Film Festival November 26, 2017 Jaeger - LeCoultre Best Film Award Lucky Nominated [15]
Locarno Film Festival August 12, 2017 Golden Leopard Lucky Nominated [16]
Prize of the Ecumenical Jury Won
Satellite Awards February 11, 2018 Best Actor – Motion Picture Harry Dean Stanton Won[a] [17]
Special Achievement Award for Best First Feature John Carroll Lynch Won
Saturn Awards June 27, 2018 Best Independent Film Lucky Nominated [18]
Tallgrass Film Festival October 22, 2017 Outstanding Screenplay Logan Sparks and Drago Sumonja Won [19]


  1. ^ Tied with Gary Oldman for Darkest Hour


  1. ^ Leydon, Joe (March 14, 2017). "SXSW Film Review: 'Lucky'". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved September 18, 2017.
  2. ^ "Lucky (2017)". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
  3. ^ Hipes, Patrick (July 7, 2016). "Harry Dean Stanton To Topline John Carroll Lynch's Indie 'Lucky'". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
  4. ^ Lang, Brett (April 7, 2017). "Magnolia Nabs 'Lucky' Starring Harry Dean Stanton". Variety. Penske Business Media. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
  5. ^ "Lucky (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  6. ^ "Lucky (2017) Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  7. ^ Seitz, Matt Zoller (September 29, 2017). "Lucky Movie Review & Film Summary (2017)". Ebert Digital LLC. Retrieved September 29, 2017.
  8. ^ The Editors (December 14, 2017). "The Individual Top Tens of 2017". Ebert Digital LLC. Retrieved March 20, 2018.
  9. ^ "Directors' Debuts Competition". Camerimage International Film Festival. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
  10. ^ Childress, Erik (December 12, 2017). ""Lady Bird," "Call Me By Your Name" win big for Chicago film critics". Chicago Film Critics Association. Archived from the original on December 13, 2017. Retrieved December 13, 2017.
  11. ^ "Gijón/Xixón International Film Festival 55th Edition Winners". City Council of Gijón. November 25, 2017. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
  12. ^ Erbland, Kate (October 19, 2017). "'Get Out' Leads 2017 Gotham Awards Nominations". IndieWire. Penske Business Media. Retrieved October 19, 2017.
  13. ^ "Carmel Competition - International Film Competition 2017". Haifa International Film Festival. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
  14. ^ "Best Israeli Feature Film Award – "The Testament"". Haifa International Film Festival. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
  15. ^ "Filmes em COMPETIÇÃO no LEFFEST'17". Lisbon & Estoril Film Festival. Leopardo Filmes. October 30, 2017. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
  16. ^ Locarno Festival [@FilmFestLocarno] (August 12, 2017). "Ecumenical Prize: LUCKY di John Carroll Lynch #Locarno70 @LuckyFilm2017 @MrJCLynch" (Tweet). Retrieved June 21, 2018 – via Twitter.
  17. ^ Pond, Steve (November 28, 2017). "'Dunkirk,' 'The Shape of Water' Lead Satellite Award Nominations". TheWrap. Retrieved June 21, 2018.
  18. ^ McNary, Dave (March 15, 2018). "'Black Panther,' 'Walking Dead' Rule Saturn Awards Nominations". Variety. Penske Business Media. Archived from the original on March 15, 2018. Retrieved March 15, 2018.
  19. ^ "2017 Festival Award Winners". Tallgrass Film Festival. Tallgrass Film Association. Archived from the original on June 21, 2018. Retrieved June 21, 2018.

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