This review first appeared in the Sunday Star-Times, 3rd May 2015
Ellie Klug (Toni Collette) is a 40-something music journalist who’s still grungy and hip, but for whom the record of life seems to have got stuck years earlier.
Attending late night gigs and stumbling home with one-night stands, Ellie’s writing career is suffering as she simultaneously tries to ward off the affections of a bright, young musician (sparkly-eyed Ryan Eggold – I’m inspired to watch The Blacklist just to ensure his extraordinary charm here isn’t simply a fluke).
In a bid to save her job at a languishing magazine and resurrect its readership, Ellie’s editor (a casually pot-smoking Oliver Platt) tasks her with writing a retrospective article on Matthew Smith – a major rock talent who disappeared in mysterious circumstances 10 years earlier, who also happened to be Ellie’s ex-boyfriend. Personally torn about whether she should pick at old wounds, Ellie enlists a wealthy former boyfriend (the powerhouse that is Sideways‘ Thomas Haden Church) to help her track Smith down.
Only Collette could pull off such a character, inhabiting the eye-rolling, bad-decision-making Ellie, whose leather-jacketed clichés might otherwise irritate (her seahorses are called Kurt and Courtney – of course they are), and only Church can get away with such hilariously deadpan lines (“I’m cooler now,” he assures her, when suggesting they might date again) as his Charlie earnestly embarks on a new career as a documentary filmmaker.
Under the sure hand of director Megan Griffiths, the story moves apace as the whole cast works effortlessly to deliver a witty, believable script.
In the spirit of the also musically-infused Begin Again, Lucky Them is a film about refreshingly mature characters learning to let go and move on.
With in-jokes aplenty, it may not go so far as to provoke pause for thought, but it should keep the Gen-X viewership chuckling.