HUB Movie Review: Lucy

posted October 22, 2014 in CommRadio by Sofia Westin

Are you ready to be told how you only use ten percent of your brain? Are you ready to be told that a dolphin uses more of their brain than you? If you are, I give you Lucy.

Lucy is a film (duh) that explores what happens when a human accesses more than ten percent of the brain. The person to explore this is Lucy (hence the title), played by Scarlett Johansson (The Avengers, Lost in Translation). She is caught up in the wrong moment with the wrong people and ends up with a package of drugs in her stomach. She is meant to transport it, but then the package breaks, and she absorbs the drugs into her system. And so, Lucy begins her climb from ten percent to 100 percent.

To pass on all the knowledge she suddenly has, Lucy talks to Professor Norman, played by Morgan Freeman, all the while trying to avoid the mafia that put the drugs in her in the first place. How she does that…well, you’ll just have to see. (Also, you will get this sense of knowledge is power and “with great power comes great responsibility” a la Spider-Man 2002. Thanks Uncle Ben!)

While looking at the movie, I got the constant feeling that I was watching a PowerPoint presentation or TED Talk. Both are used to present and explain an issue, idea or topic, and pictures and data are used to enhance and support what is said. In the movie, something is said, and there are clips to enhance that. This especially happens during the first half of the movie. Please let me be reminded, while I sit in the dark abyss, at a place I usually don’t have to think about school, that I have lecture tomorrow at 8 a.m.!

Critics and audiences seemed to agree that the movie was average, better than a B-movie and generally entertained for its allotted time. It garnered media attention, perhaps more for its false claim about humans only using ten percent of their brains (we use ten times more than that), but it was generally good buzz. IMDb audiences gave it a 6.5 average rating, Metacritic critics a 61, and RottenTomatoes certified it fresh with 66, though only 48 percent of its users liked it.

On the Penn State Scale...
1—when Penn State loses a game,
2—an 8 a.m class (which are awful),
3—a canceled 8 a.m class,
4— free Creamery ice cream for a whole year,
and 5—when Penn State beats Ohio State (I believe that we will win!),

Lucy qualifies for a 3.5. It was a very interesting idea and concept that the screen-writer developed. Neuroscience, in and of itself, is quite interesting (or maybe that’s just me), so when presented with the idea that all humans have untapped potential in their brains, it instantly thrills as you may wonder about your own untapped potential. The graphics were amazing, especially those of Lucy’s color-changing eyes and the “tear-down” of New York City as she went back in time (no spoiler, it’s in the trailer). The acting was very well done (Morgan Freeman, you can do no wrong), though I thought Lucy (pre-drugs) was a little forced during her kidnapping. Also, I’m very happy with how badass Johansson was. Her Black Widow character from the Marvel universe is fading away in comparison.

The score would be higher had the ending not gone out of proportion and reality. Everything that Lucy was able to do and manipulate up until that point, I bought that. But the ending just…it went too far. But I appreciate their effort to unleash their creative brain capacity to create such an ending. Also, the way it was set up, with the presentation-like qualities, cut up the movie and it didn’t flow so well with the rest of the high-speed, action-y bits in the rest of the movie.

Don’t read further unless you want a spoiler. If you don’t, that’s it for me and enjoy!  If not, I present some food for thought…kind of far-fetched, like this movie at times, but it’s kind of funny and coincidental.


So you know in the end when Lucy literally dissipates and is suddenly everywhere, she decides to let all the neuroscientists and the police officer know that through a phone. And that, ladies and gents, is how Lucy became Samantha in the movie Her, the Oscar-winning movie by Spike Jonze, starring Joaquin Phoenix. You’re welcome.

Sofia Westin is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism and economics. To contact her, email