Panorama | Contemporary World Cinema
With his long, craggy face and his rough, sonorous drawl, Harry Dean Stanton was a mainstay of American screen acting. This film is his valediction—a funny, poignant portrait of a man approaching death with all the dignity he can muster. Single and self-reliant, Stanton’s Lucky lives life on his own terms. His daily routine involves yoga exercises, afternoon TV and a full pack of smokes. Counselled by his doctor (Ed Begley, Jr.) to acknowledge his impending death, our hero begins to take stock of his life. There to offer wisdom are bar owner Elaine (Beth Grant), her lover Paulie (James Darren) and, in a splendid role as Lucky’s best friend, none other than David Lynch.
Moving at a leisurely pace, the film is nonetheless engaging at every moment. It’s impossible to take your eyes off Stanton: in his performance you see history, both that of his character and that of an actor with a lifetime of excellence behind him. It’s a movie of superb monologues: Lynch on the loss of his pet tortoise, Darren on the redemptive power of love and Stanton on the meaning of life and death. Watch this one for a chance to see characters that sparkle, and for a long, loving look at one of America’s great performers.
"[An] outstanding comedy… Everything Harry Dean Stanton has done in his career, and his life, has brought him to his moment of triumph."—Joe Leydon, Variety