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Lucy in the Sky | 2019 | R | – 5.5.6

content-ratingsWhy is “Lucy in the Sky” rated R? The MPAA rating has been assigned for “language and some sexual content.” The evaluation includes a few sex scenes without nudity between a man and a woman, several kissing scenes, and cleavage revealing outfits; several sequences of space missions from blasting off from Earth to space walks, many arguments, the unraveling of a woman’s mental condition after returning from space, and the death of a family member; and at least 15 F-words and other strong language. Read our parents’ guide below for details on sexual content, violence & strong language.”

Based on actual events: An American astronaut (Natalie Portman) returns from 10 days in space to find life on Earth lacking. She becomes obsessed with going back to space, abandons her marriage and has an affair with a colleague (Jon Hamm), and when she is grounded and her new lover begins an affair with a rookie mission candidate (Zazie Beetz), she makes a desperate decision. Also with Dan Stevens, Colman Domingo and Ellen Burstyn. Directed by Noah Hawley. [Running Time: 2:04]

Lucy in the Sky SEX/NUDITY 5

 – A woman wearing a dress sits on a bed with her back to the camera and she gasps and leans back, revealing the partial back of a man’s head whose face is between her legs (evidently performing oral sex); she gasps and lies back on the bed in shadows and the scene ends. A woman wears a miniskirt that ends at mid-thigh and climbs onto a man in the bed of a pickup truck where they kiss for several seconds; he lies on top of her and she wraps her legs around him, both thrust (they remain clothed) and she rolls over on top of him as the scene ends.
 A man sits on a couch and a woman wearing a miniskirt straddles him, they kiss for several seconds, begin to argue and go outside where they kiss for a few seconds and walk inside after the woman says she “wants to feel something,” and the scene ends (sex is implied). A man kisses a woman and a woman kisses a man who does not respond. A man puts his arm around a woman bowler with the excuse that he is helping her roll the ball. A man and a woman lie clothed on a bed and talk for a few seconds; the scene cuts to nighttime where the couple is in bed facing away from each other (no sex is suggested).
 A man meets a date in a cafe, where she is sitting with a second woman with whom the man is having an affair, and the woman’s husband; the second woman looks shocked and the first man leaves. A woman tells a man that she agrees to have a baby after her next space mission.
 A man sits in front of a TV, shirtless. A woman wears a tank top and running shorts. A woman wears a couple of V-necked tops that show cleavage.

Lucy in the Sky VIOLENCE/GORE 5

 – A woman dons a wig and follows a man through a rainstorm into a parking garage where he enters a car, cannot start it, and the woman slams her palm onto the driver’s side window, frightening him; he curses and argues with her as another woman approaches, the two women argue and the first woman sprays bug spray into the man’s face twice as he opens the car door and he shouts, starts the car, and crashes it into another vehicle and then erratically races out of the garage.
 A woman in a spacesuit is lowered into an oversized pool of water while standing on a slowly descending platform; two divers lead her to a panel on a machine where she rotates to a head-down position and removes the panel using a drill as she is timed, but her helmet fills with water, she holds her breath for two minutes, removes the panel, and the divers pull her back to the platform to ascend calm and unharmed.
 In several flashbacks while on Earth a woman sees herself floating as an astronaut in the sky, sometimes through clouds toward a sun, or inside a space shuttle as clouds or small flames from re-entry pass by the portals. A woman has two flashbacks of sleeping upside down and zipped into a hanging body bag in a space station. A woman has a flashback to floating away from a space station, untethered. In space, a woman has flashbacks of life on Earth being boring.
 A woman tearfully lectures another woman incoherently as a police cruiser with flashing lights and a siren arrives and chases the first woman, who runs through rain on parking garage ramps; she stands on the ledge of the garage roof, turns, and looks as if she will jump several stories and commit suicide until the scene cuts to a TV at NASA that announces the woman was captured.
 A man watches the 1986 explosion of the Challenger shuttle. We hear that an astronaut from Apollo 11 cried when he saw the darkness in space, and when he saw the sun as well. A man says that he prays because his wife straps herself to a giant bomb (i.e. a space shuttle). Two scenes feature astronauts jostled inside a cockpit as a shuttle blasts off and the camera cuts to outside, where we see large clouds of white smoke and flames.
 A woman’s psychiatrist tells her that she is working too hard and needs to get away, instead of returning to space. A woman’s boss tells her that she is too emotional and pulls her from a space mission; she leaves him an angry voicemail later about not helping her with having another space experience.
 A woman and a man argue loudly about him finding a gun in her car and she berates him for taking the key off her keyring when she was not looking, and searching her car. A woman berates a man for reading through her personnel file and narrating its contents in a restaurant without permission. A woman breaks into her lovers’ computer and finds evidence that he has been seeing another woman; she becomes angry and stomps out of the room. A woman tells another woman that someone was left stranded in space and it is her. We hear that a teen girl’s mother died, but we do not know the cause. We hear that three men chased another man with ax handles and the last man’s mother shot one of the pursuers in the legs, which stopped all three.
 A man and a woman argue loudly and the man says that her grandmother is in the hospital; the woman looks dazed and we see her glide toward the camera as her house, streets, and buildings pass by her sides; she glides into a hospital corridor where people are in wheelchairs and on gurneys, and stops in a room where an elderly woman is unconscious with a monitor on one finger and two back tubes running under the covers at chest level as something off-screen beeps repeatedly. A wife and her husband shout at each other and she tells him that she is leaving him; she speeds away in her pickup truck with her teenage niece and they later drive over 1,000 miles and the woman briefly speaks with the ghost of her grandmother that appears in the passenger seat.
 A woman and a teen girl buy a wig and hardware supplies for tying up and kidnapping a man, including duct tape, cutting devices, ropes and other items; the woman drives the girl away erratically, shouting angrily and when they stop at a gas station, the teen girl finds a pistol in the vehicle and hides it in her purse. A woman finds a handgun in her grandmother’s purse and removes it, placing it in her own purse for safety.
 A woman is shown having a mugshot taken, and the scene flashes back to her standing on the ledge of a parking garage roof and we see her have a vision of outer space. A woman in a locker room shudders while seated on a bench. We see a photo of a person wearing camouflage and holding a rifle. Two runners collide on a track, but neither is hurt. A woman puts on a beekeeper’s outfit, opens a hive, and we see hundreds of buzzing bees on a honeycomb; she walks among several hives and removes her protective headgear as bees buzz around her and she smiles.
 A woman cries as a nurse administers chest compressions to an elderly woman; the scene shifts to a wake with mourners wearing black. A woman sees a vision of glowing flowers on a wall and rips off all the wallpaper to see painted flowers; a man stops her and she asks, “Why does God make things that have to destroy themselves?”
 During a spacesuit check, a woman calls out that the urine and feces tubes are connected. In a terrarium, a chrysalis begins to open and hundreds of flies swarm out, frightening a woman who covers the container with a cloth; she and a teen girl argue briefly and leave the house. A technician sticks a hypodermic needle into a woman’s arm, and places gauze and tape over the area with no blood visible.

Lucy in the Sky LANGUAGE 6

 – About 15 F-words and its derivatives, 1 obscene hand gesture, 4 scatological terms, 3 anatomical terms, 2 mild obscenities, 4 instances of name-calling (crazy, idiot, ladies’ man, Ivy League [anatomical term deleted]), exclamations (darn it), 5 religious exclamations (e.g. Oh My God, Jesus). | profanity glossary |

Lucy in the Sky SUBSTANCE USE

 – An elderly woman drinks whiskey, a woman drinks whiskey, a man drinks Scotch while sitting on a couch, a man and a woman drink from beer bottles on their porch, a man and woman drink from beer bottles on a deck, two women and a man at a table and a man on a bench drink from beer bottles in a bowling alley and a woman holds a beer bottle as she bowls, a man says that another man “is hammered,” two men and two women at a table at a bowling alley drink a dark liquor, a drunken woman staggers out of a pickup truck and into her house where her husband asks if she is drunk and she says “No,” a man and a woman each drink from a can of beer, two women and a man in a café sip wine, men and women at a wake hold glasses of what may be alcoholic drinks, and men and women hold cans of beer and glasses of mixed drinks at a house party (no one drinks). An elderly woman smokes a cigarette in extreme close-up while wearing an oxygen tube in her nose and another woman tells her that she will kill herself with cigarettes, an elderly woman takes a pack of cigarettes and walks off-screen while saying that she will “smoke outside like a hobo,” and we see an ashtray containing old cigarette butts.


 – The need for accessible mental health services, working in outer space, handling life-and-death situations in space, disillusionment, boredom, obsession, extramarital affairs, loneliness, visions, flashbacks, violence, death, loss, privacy, respect for women, fighting the stereotypes of women, family, friends, finding a new purpose.

Lucy in the Sky MESSAGE

 – Many believe mistakenly that women are too emotional to work in space and will suffer from “space madness.” Desperation leads to problematic choices.


Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.

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