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How ‘Lucky’ addresses gaslighting and self-preservation in a male dominated world

Lucky will haunt audiences with its stark realism. 

Society has prescribed behaviors for the sexes. It is common for women to be associated with emotions and men to be disassociated from them.  These stereotypes and designations based on notions of gender roles do a disservice to all genders. Natasha Kermani’s Lucky is a film that cuts to the core of society’s problem with women. Directed by Kermani and written by Brea Grant, Lucky tells a story about a woman who has to fight for her life every night because she is targeted by an unknown assailant. Clever writing, darkly humorous, and brilliantly violent, Lucky will haunt audiences with its stark realism. 

Grant stars as May, a self-help writer, whose books are geared towards business women in need of empowerment. May seems to have an idyllic life, a successful career, a loving husband, and even a picket fence. However, one night she’s awakened by an intruder. Ted, her husband responds, “That’s just the guy who tries to kill us every night.” May is obviously disturbed, but is even more baffled at her husband’s nonchalant attitude towards the situation. When she asks Ted to explain, she is upset, her voice is raised, she is near tears. He says he can’t talk to her when she’s like that and leaves. The absurdity of the situation leads to a moment of humor and terror, a tone that is carried throughout the film. 

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Lucky is a completely new kind of slasher film. While the traditional players are in place, the story is executed in an inventive manner. There are some wonderful moments of comedy in this film intermingled with some moments of anxiety and fear, which are part of the genre’s package. The violence is entertaining, featuring a variety of bloodshed, while still building on the film’s themes and story. 

There are a lot of fascinating style choices in this film. Most of the setting, home décor, and wardrobe are in shades of blue. Heteronormative tradition deems blue to be the color choice for males. In this film, the fact that May is surrounded by blue can be a constant reminder of the patriarchal construction of society. It’s a man’s world, the saying goes, and the rest of us are just living in it. 

Dhruv Uday Singh plays Ted and gives a great performance. He is infuriating and likable at the same time. Singh and Grant have a wonderful chemistry that drives the tone of the film. In addition to a smart screenplay, Grant gives a fantastic performance. The frustration of May’s character emanates from her as her fears are casually disregarded. She is viewed as irrational while Ted is seen as a victim and his cold behavior is justified. 

Lucky’s compelling climax examines the way society treats women and on a greater scope explores the way victims, in general, are perceived. Lucky is thought provoking and raises many questions. What is a victim expected to do when help is not received? In trying to stop a monster, does one have to become one for survival?

Lucky premieres on Shudder March 4  

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