“I’m gonna fight for my life once again tomorrow.” - May
History and current events have shown how women who have become victims of domestic violence are the ones that become minimalized as they endure the throes of gaslighting, misogynistic microaggressions, interrogations, and endless psychoanalysis in the aftermath of ongoing abuse. From Tina Turner to Nicole Brown Simpson (which ended in her death) to Rhianna to the horrible treatment that Amber Heard has revealed recently. These are a few of the countless women who have dealt with the sickening maltreatment at the hands of their monstrous male partners along with the insane after-effects as the female victim is put through the wringer as if there was something wrong with what these women have endured. The same workover is never given to the men who perpetrate these awful acts.
Lucky, a film by Epic Pictures Group, written by Brea Grant (12 Hour Shift) and directed by Natasha Kermani (Imitation Girl), provides a unique vision of the constant cycle of physical abuse along with the mental agony that coincides with its constant aftermath.
May (Brea Grant), an author of a self-help book of female empowerment, faces a home invasion with her husband Ted (Dhruv Uday Singh) who manages to subdue the perpetrator who mysteriously disappears. After an ineffective investigation by local law enforcement headed by Officer Pace (Larry Cedar) coupled by May’s argument with Ted who leaves May solo in a long-term desertion. Locked in combat with the masked and disappearing villain every night and with the same ineffective aftermaths, May deals with a “thousand cuts” scenario with each cut robbing her of independence, confidence and identity as she “doesn’t know how to play the game anymore”. Bombarded and smothered by interrogations by law enforcement along with medical and mental health professionals in her own home, May becomes overwhelmed. When she returns to a parking garage that exists in the film’s beginning, she realizes that she is not the only woman that struggles to survive.
Ms. Grant’s writing offers us a fantastic take on the recurrent theme of familial brutality. While the protagonist is well developed and acted by Ms. Grant as she displays great range in one of her best performances to date, I would have liked to have seen more development from the other characters in this film. While the supporting characters give off the traits of likable, apathy and annoyance in the proper places, I would have loved these characters to have more depth as they come off as one-dimensional props for the protagonist to move from one scene to another. This is especially true in the female support roles of Edie (Yasmin Al-Bustami) and Sarah (Kausar Mohammed). Ms. Al-Bustami and Ms. Mohammed play their roles well, but I would love to get more from their characters.
Ms. Kermani helms this film expertly and is a great follow-up piece to Imitation Girl. While I have seen this work being labeled as having “surreal” elements, I would disagree with this term. I would say that it is more of “cyclical symbolism” due to the looping ephemeral tones that the movie provides. As with each loop of the recurring home invasion, deathly endings and constant vanishings, the acts of the male intruder fade away, leaving the female victim to pick up the pieces of her life while the walls of “help” close in around her, never allowing her to “go it alone”.
All in all, Lucky is excellent with a concept I have never seen on the subject of domestic violence, making it a true original. It is a movie that illustrates how a woman has to look over her shoulder and around every corner to achieve that one objective: Survive.
Lucky makes its debut on Shudder on March 4th.
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