Luck (Christian Movie Review)
About The Movie
Animated movies have been flung against the wall this year, but whether weighed down by controversy (Turning Red, Lightyear) or merely listless stories (DC League of Super-Pets, Minions: Rise of Gru, Paws of Fury), not much has stuck. I didn’t have high expectations for Luck (Apple Originals Films), but I was pleasantly surprised. With an irresistibly feel-good story and an inspiring message on adoption and the power of perspective, Luck is a total delight and one of the best animated films of the year.
In a way, what Pixar’s Inside Out was for emotions, Luck is for good and bad luck. It’s the story of Sam, an orphan girl with hysterically bad luck, who wishes better luck for her friend. Her attempts to obtain this good luck lead her on an increasingly bizarre adventure to the Land of Luck, a world filled with talking cats and pigs, leprechauns, unicorns, and dragons.
The movie is hilarious. The best part is that the humor is instantly relatable. Everyone has experienced bad luck. My 7-year-old twin boys were belly-laughing throughout. Later that evening, when I attempted to stuff “just one more” cardboard box into my recycling bin only to send cans and boxes spewing across the road on a windy night, I immediately remembered the film and chuckled. Most of the gags involve physical comedy. On the few occasions it does go for “potty humor” (such as a joke involving bad luck related to “dog poop”), it’s cleverly done.
The animation style is akin to Boss Baby. It is vibrant and visually appealing, but characters have a slightly plastic appearance and their movement isn’t always fluid. While not bad, it does sometimes veer closer to made-for-tv quality rather than a typical theatrical film (making Apple+ a perfect home for it). The plot also becomes somewhat convoluted (they need to get this thing, but for that to work they need to first get this thing, but they can’t get that thing unless they do this other thing, etc.).
In fact, from a technical standpoint, there are certainly things to nit-pick. Luck may not be as excellently crafted as many other animated films this year. But what it has in abundance is heart and a meaningful story. In a year when animated films have been used as vehicles to push various agendas or normalize ideologies, it’s refreshing to watch a movie that leaves both parents and children uplifted. I thoroughly enjoyed Luck, which joins The Bad Guys as one of my favorite animated films of the year.
Engage The Film
Perspective & Fate
The moral of Luck is learning to have a healthy perspective when circumstances don’t seem to go your way. Sam sees her “bad luck” as a constant problem. She feels that the world is conspiring against her, making comments like, “okay, universe,” or “take that, universe.”
The Land of Luck is a sphere with two sides—good luck on top; bad luck on the bottom. Despite initial appearances, it becomes evident that the residents on the “good luck” side are anxious and paranoid. They express that only good luck can “bring joy to all the world” and that good luck is “joy and hope.” Their happiness stems from their ideal circumstances, which they take pains to safeguard. The “bad luck” inhabitants, on the other hand, are content with their luckless lot and quick to make lemonade with life’s lemons. Since their joy isn’t derived from maintaining certain conditions, they can find joy in all situations.
Scripture teaches Christians to be content in all circumstances: “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:11-13).
The movie also explores how good can come out of circumstances that appear undesirable. What first appears as “bad luck” becomes the catalyst to bring characters together and grow them. Sam’s trials as an unlucky orphan shape her and allow her to empathize with others living on the fringes. In this, the movie echoes the biblical teaching, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing” (James 1:2-4).