Lucky Them


Reviewed by: Anne-Katrin Titze

Thomas Haden Church as Charlie with Toni Collette as Ellie: "I think he just riffs on what's there. It's extended rather than shifted."
"Griffiths enjoys showing us the particulars of Ellie's life and it doesn't feel like exposition though it might look a little ersatz."

Thomas Haden Church steals the show in Megan Griffiths' spirited comedy Lucky Them, set in the world of Seattle music journalism and hankering for love stories past. Based in part on adventures in co-screenwriter Emily Wachtel's life, it stars Toni Collette as music journalist Ellie Klug, who likes her whiskey straight and her life uncomplicated. The magazine she works for is in trouble and her boss Giles (Oliver Platt) forces Ellie to write about the famous musician Matthew Smith who mysteriously disappeared many years ago and also happened to be her ex-boyfriend.

Haden Church plays Charlie, who used to be in the jewelry business, and before that in software, and who comes from an old family with money anyway. Now a freshly minted self-proclaimed documentary filmmaker, Charlie accompanies Ellie into her grungy past, which isn't easy for him because he hates music, "all music." With only three minutes of footage and a lot of dead ends, including a Galago night monkey wedding gift surprise, the unlikely detective team keeps looking for a reclusive past that withdraws from being found.

Copy picture

Griffiths enjoys showing us the particulars of Ellie's life and it doesn't feel like exposition though it might look a little ersatz. She lives in an apartment filled with albums and a creepy guy breaks up with her after three month of too casual an involvement, for his taste, so he says. When she hears Lucas (Ryan Eggold) playing his music on the street, he looks just right to be her next conquest and she throws her business card in his hat.

The plot around Lucas and Ellie is in good old heartthrob tradition and the elephant in the room, their age difference, is so painstakingly delicately dealt with that you can almost hear the meetings behind the scenes of making Lucky Them.

This is where Thomas Haden Church comes in and saves the day and the film with big broad strokes, unafraid to look like a fool or a privileged peabrain.

What looks like a running drink order joke, is actually the film's greatest problem: Charley likes to order a clean glass, water, and a whole lime. Ellie drowns her life in whiskey, good days and bad, and gets away with it, which does not turn her into a tough role model or one of the boys. Her self-destruction is too comforting for words - which might exactly be the point.

Reviewed on: 22 Apr 2014
Share this with others on...
Lucky Them packshot
A music journalist goes on a troubling journey into her own past.

Director: Megan Griffiths

Writer: Huck Botko, Caroline Sherman, Emily Wachtel

Starring: Ryan Eggold, Toni Collette, Thomas Haden Church, Joanne Woodward, Ahna O'Reilly, Oliver Platt, Amy Seimetz, Lynn Shelton, Nina Arianda, Tony Doupe, Jake Robards, Linas Phillips, Gary Gulman, Conner Marx, Wally Dalton

Year: 2013

Runtime: 97 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US


Tribeca 2014

Search database:

Related Articles:

Lucky star