Gender Roles – Women
Gender Roles – Men
Self-Esteem and Body Image
Room for Improvement:
Violence Against Women
Gender Roles - Women: 4 Stars
Lucy is a twisted sort of superhero, with seemingly limitless powers. Unfortunately, the film provides only a flimsy and unrealistic explanation for her sudden transformation, and turns her into an emotionless robot before we learn anything about her original character. She is able to take on her captors and finds a way to pass on her superior knowledge to a group of capable neuroscientists, but she is also reckless and violent with her new abilities, carelessly killing innocent bystanders along with the drug lords who kidnapped her. While it’s rare to see a woman take on this sort of vigilante title role, it’s unfortunate that she wasn’t given a more intelligent script.
Gender Roles - Men: 4 Stars
Professor Norman is positive example of an accomplished academic who’s made his mark on the world through his studies and quiet powers of persuasion. We don’t know enough about him to truly gauge his character, but during his limited screen time he willingly lends his support to Lucy, respecting her as a person and encouraging her to make the most of the amazing gift she’s been given - even if it’s only hers for a short while.
Self-Esteem and Body Image: 3 Stars
Once the drugs take effect, Lucy is immediately aware of her near invincibility. What she portrays isn’t mere confidence, but an obvious sense of superiority. The only drawback to Lucy’s sudden sense of self-assurance is that it lacks authenticity, since it’s based off an unexplained miracle drug rather than genuine accomplishments.
Lucy doesn’t spend much time developing Lucy’s personality and a fair amount of the film’s draw seems to be Scarlett Johanssen’s attractive face and features. But to the film’s credit, she isn’t cast as just another female superhero in a tight leather outfit. Lucy is meant to be a cerebral phenomenon, and the film focuses far more on her intellect than it does on her body, even if the plotline is a bit inconsistent and unbelievable.
Plot: 3 Stars (Spoilers)
Lucy is both a hero and a monster. She escapes from her captors and succeeds in destroying their illicit enterprise, but she also becomes an unfeeling machine that carelessly shoots and maims innocent people in her quest to unlock her brain’s full capacity. Lucy’s callousness is roughly explained by her higher intelligence, which tells her that we never really die - but this isn’t enough to make audiences root for someone with such little regard for innocent people. Traditional superheroes defend and protect civilians. Lucy destroys anyone who’s in her way.
Character Development: 3 Stars
Lucy has no personality, no history and no future. We get only a brief glimpse of her character before the transformation, and everything afterwards is a mindless blur. The only time we really get to know and care about Lucy is during a short and cryptic phone call with her mother. Lucy expresses genuine fear over her new reality, but is also full of gratitude for the love her parents have shown her over the years. The film suggests, for a brief moment, that we’ll get a glimpse of the curse that comes with bearing all this hidden knowledge. Of losing one’s connection with society and humanity. But the moment passes quickly, and the rest is action sequences and pointless commentary on space and time.
Violence Against Women: 2 Stars
Lucy contains a few scenes in which Lucy is physically abused and threatened by drug lords. These scenes are relatively minor and primarily used to villainize the drug lords, rather than to normalize the violence. In the end, Lucy is able to turn the table on her attackers and exact some form of revenge. The violence towards Lucy doesn’t add much to the story, but in a film that contains a fair amount of violence towards men, Lucy gets off fairly unscathed.