If you aren’t excited about Lucy, then you are wrong. This looks like by far one of the best and most original movies I have seen in years.
At first I thought this movie, though fantastical, was supposed to be set in our universe, but according to Wikipedia it’s a little more dystopian. The premise of Lucy is that the world is pretty much run by the mob, street gangs, drug addicts, and corrupt cops. So though it may seem that the movie is, for the most part, set in our world, I get the impression it’s a little more corrupt than even we are used to. Lucy, played by Scarlett Johansson, is a young woman living in Taipei, Taiwan who is forced into being a drug mule for the Taiwanese mob. After being kidnapped and sexually assaulted (or nearly sexually assaulted—it’s unclear in the trailer but I’m sure no less traumatic) the drugs that were put into Lucy’s stomach start leaking. Rather than killing her, the drugs end up heightening her brain’s processing ability and giving her superhuman powers. Eventually, Lucy contacts Professor Norman, a neuroscientist played by Morgan Freeman, to help her understand her developing new powers, and presumably to help her not lose her humanity as she gains more and more awe-inspiring abilities.
This is an interesting movie for several reasons. One, our main character is a woman, not to mention the only other major supporting characters seem to be Professor Norman and the as of yet unnamed character played by Analeigh Tipton, who seems to be a friend or relative of Lucy’s. On top of this, almost all the other minor characters are being played by Asian actors, who I assume will make up the various agents of the Taiwanese mafia. So we have an entire cast of characters (both main and supporting) who are not white men. That’s amazing! It’s such a rare thing to happen that I am shocked that a movie like this is even is getting made, but I’m certainly excited about it. And with amazing actors like Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman, it has the potential to be pretty fantastic.
Furthermore, I am excited that this plotline about struggling with power and being afraid of losing one’s humanity is even being given to a female character, since this storyline is almost always portrayed by men. I’m excited to see where the writers of this film will take the plot. Will this movie be largely the same as other stories in this vein or will there be a different twist? We’ll have to wait and see.
I was a bit concerned about the implied sexual assault shown in the trailer because it is such an overused trope for female characters. At the same time it’s also great to see female characters get their own back after such a horrible situation, and it can be cathartic for victims of sexual assault to see someone who went through something similar to them overcome it and get revenge on their attackers. In general, while I cringe a little over the sexual assault, I think it will be great to watch this female character who starts with no control or autonomy become practically God-like after overcoming her oppressors.
I do kind of wish for two things. Though it doesn’t look like there will be, I would like to see a Taiwanese character that isn’t an evil mob boss in this movie. Since Lucy was apparently living in Taiwan, it doesn’t make sense that she wouldn’t have any friends other than one white girl. It would be nice if she had another, maybe female (we need more women of color in movies), Taiwanese friend who was also helping her deal with all this. But alas, that does not seem to be the case. My other concern is since all of the other characters are Western, the movie does seem to rely on tropes that Other people, especially people of color. In other words, the movie makes them seem like this weird, strange, exotic group that we must be suspicious of and fight against. I have no problem with Lucy’s main conflict being with the Taiwanese mafia, but some good Taiwanese characters are needed for juxtaposition and just an overall realistic portrayal of Taiwanese people.
Other than that, I am very excited to see this movie. Hopefully, it will be the start of a long trend of other movies like it.