Tuesday, July 3, 2018

[Review] Oh Lucy!

Not to be confused with anything related to "I Love Lucy", the dramedy Oh Lucy! is a funny and thoughtful gem that features a terrific lead performance from Shinobu Terajima.

Meet Setsuko (Terajima), a lonely woman living in Tokyo, drifting through the mundanities of life. One day she decides to enroll in English lessons taught by an eccentric American named John, who's played by an interestingly cast Josh Hartnett. Through John's theatrical methods, Setsuko takes on an alter ego of sorts named Lucy (ah, that's where the title comes from).

In multiple ways, this film is a tale of two halves -- part of it is in Japanese and part of it is in English, and the first section takes place in Tokyo, while the latter takes place in the U.S. (California, to be exact). Yes, when John abruptly moves home, "Lucy" follows him there (it's a long story). It's also equal parts comedy and drama. There are plenty of awkward follies and offbeat exchanges. I won't call it a story of language "barriers" -- it's more-so a story of miscommunications. These characters mostly understand each other, even if the words don't always come across correctly. And it's not so much a culture-clash comedy as it is a journey of awakening for someone finding their way in a very different environment than they're used to. The film also provides some genuinely tender and somber moments, as it takes on an observational and empathetic perspective. There's even a scene where Vanessa Carlton's "A Thousand Miles" plays in the background, and it really takes you back.

Shinobu Terajim's performance is so real and comical. It's subtle yet expressive in an effortless way. The supporting cast is great too, including Kaho Minami as Setsuko...er-Lucy's strict sister and Shiori Kutsuna as her bubbly niece. This is also a refreshing role for Josh Hartnett. He plays a charming scoundrel with shades of Channing Tatum and indie-Mark Ruffalo.

Don't miss out on Oh Lucy!

( 8/10 )

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