Customer Reviews


11 Reviews
5 star:
 (9)
4 star:
 (2)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 
‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Moving family drama, February 17, 2013
This review is from: Lucky (DVD)
Let me state upfront that I am a big fan of the Film Movement library of foreign and indie movies, in fact I finally gave in and started my membership last year to their DVD of the Month releases. This is the February, 2013 release in that on-going series.

"Lucky" (2011 release from South Africa; 104 min.) brings the story of Lucky, a 10 yr. old boy living in a remote Zulu village in South Africa. As the movie begins, we see him anxiously awaiting the return of his mom fom a trip to the Big City. As it turns out, she died of HIV-AIDS and instead she is returned to the village in a coffin. Before dying. she made arrangements for Lucky to go live with his uncle (mom's brother) in the Big City. Upon arriving, Lucky is not particularly welcomed with open arms, and it doesn't take long before things come to a full conflict. Around that time, Lucky strikes up an unlikely friendship with an old Indian woman living in the same complex. At this point we are about one-third into the movie. To tell you more of the plot would ruin your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Several comments: first and foremost, this is a very moving family drama that brought tears to my eyes on several occasions. When you see Lucky trying to cope with his mom's death, you cannot help but feel so incredibly sorry for him, as no 10 year old should have to go through this. Second, the movie explores the interaction between the large Indian community in South Africe and the natigve Zulu population in a very nuanced way that gave me great insights in the matter. Third, there are several outstanding performances, none more so than Sihle Dlamini as the 10 yr. old boy. He simply blew me away, not unlike, say, the performance of Quvenzhané Wallis as the little girl in last year's Beasts of the Southern Wild. Last but not least, there are several DVD bonus materials, by far the best of which is the original 20 min. short film from 2005, also called "Lucky", which director Avie Luthra uses as the platform for this feature film, and which is quite good in and of itself as well. Bottom line: if you are in the mood for a quality foreign movie that is miles away from your standard Hollywood fare, "Lucky" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning examinations of loss, obligation, age and race..., May 19, 2013
This review is from: Lucky (DVD)
As summer approaches, "Lucky" can offer a welcome shelter from onslaught of comic-book themed action flicks. It can also provide you with plenty of questions --and maybe some reassurances-- about the nature of obligations and how we define "family".

At the start of the movie, the central character (Lucky, a 10-year old boy, is awaiting his mother's return to the Zulu village where he lives in South Africa. She returns in casket, dead from an acute illness that is not named (but is presumably AIDS). Lucky's father is already absent at this point, and the arrangement his mother has made with his uncle in the city (apparently Johannesburg) rapidly fails under the strain of the uncle's flaws. Lucky's fate ultimately depends on an elderly Hindi neighbor who first views him with fear, the man who denies being his father and an underperforming social services system.

The writing and acting in this film are spare and understated, the music evocative and the conflicts are many: generational, racial and ethical. Lucky is told --and later repeats-- that "adults lie...to survive". The pathos in this movie that results from these lies is sharp-edged, as a 10-year old must make decisions on his own when those lies eliminate his options.

Director Avie Luthre had options of his own in how to end this movie. I applaud the choice of the ambiguity, that leaves us with both hope and doubt as the screen goes black.

Awesome flick!
Note: I received this movie at no cost for review purposes.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Understated Character Drama Of Loss And Discovery: Forging Unlikely Connections in South Africa, May 16, 2013
This review is from: Lucky (DVD)
Set in South Africa, the stirring drama "Lucky" explores the prejudices, racial division, and economic hardships that still plague a community in transition. At its heart, though, is the perfectly understated and believable sojourn of a young boy trying to find his place in the world. At his lowest point, he makes an unlikely connection that will become instrumental in choosing a new life and setting him on an alternate course. Lucky, the young orphan at the center of the movie, has only a few true motivators. He wants to honor his recently deceased mother by seeking out an education that will lead to greater opportunity. But his path is not an easy one for he has no one that is truly on his side. Director Avie Luthra makes some pretty impressive choices in telling Lucky's story. In some hands, this tale would be wrought with melodrama and big emotional moments. Luthra plays things a little closer to the vest in terms of dramatics. By utilizing a more restrained touch, "Lucky" and its ultimate impact on the viewer really sneaks up. The quiet power of the film, therefore, is its strongest attribute.

As "Lucky" opens, we see the tragedy that has befallen Lucky's life. Although his community reaches out to support him, he pushes away. His mother wanted him to have a better life. Seeking out his uncle in the big city, Lucky is adamant about going to school. But life in the city is not what he might expect. One of his neighbors is an elderly Indian woman who is unhappy with the city's new integration. She is suspicious and standoffish of Lucky, especially as the two don't even share a language to ease communication. Circumstances, though, inevitably continue to push them together. And once she can see Lucky as an individual, as a lost little boy, the dynamics of their relationship start to change. "Lucky" is filled with compassion, but never devolves into overt sentimentality. That's why I liked it so much. It is simultaneously hopeful and truthful. The two central characters will change each other irrevocably, but it is handled quietly and without grandstanding.

The film has a number of nice supporting turns, but it really rests on the central pairing. Sihle Dlamini is incredibly strong as Lucky. He is strong, defiant, stubborn, and vulnerable by equal turns. It is an incredibly dignified performance that will pull on your heartstrings because it is not manipulative or over-the-top. I believed Dlamini at every moment. Likewise, Jayashree Basavaraj, as Padma, defies most expectations with her toughness and matter-of-factness. Most screenplays would have turned this relationship into sentimental treacle, but "Lucky" retains a refreshingly hard edge throughout. The DVD presentation also has Luthra's 20 minute award winning short on which the feature was based. I enjoyed the contrast. This is certainly one case where the expansion was worth the investment. Quietly powerful, "Lucky" gets under your skin and many of its images have stayed with me long after the viewing. About 4 1/2 stars, this character study is well worth the time. KGHarris, 5/13.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars tearjerker,fantastic, August 12, 2013
This review is from: Lucky (DVD)
movie very emotional, esp with a child being the main character, and how he was mistreated, just for wanting to go to school.kids here in the states need to watch this movie and see how kids in other countries have to pay to go to school.that child actor stole my heart,from the start.all the pain he went thru , he never stop believing in hisself. love love the movie.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intense story of the life of an orphan in South Africa, his struggle for a place where he can pursue his goals of an education, June 5, 2013
This review is from: Lucky (DVD)
Understanding this video is much easier if you know something of the history of the nation of South Africa. Lucky is a young black boy and the video opens with his deceased mother being brought back to his small Zulu village for burial. While it is not explicitly stated, it is fairly clear that she died of AIDS, something that is very common throughout most of the African continent. With an estimated 18% of the young adult population of South Africa infected with the HIV virus and neighboring Swaziland having a rate estimated at 26%, there is a large number of AIDS orphans in that area. One of the most incredible statistics is that there is an estimated 1.9 million AIDS orphans in South Africa alone, so in this respect the story of Lucky is one shared by many other children. Some knowledge of this sad fact helps the viewer better understand some aspects of the movie, especially the scene where someone takes responsibility for him.
Once his mother is buried, Lucky is sent off to the city to live with his uncle. His mother has given the uncle money so that Lucky can go to school, something that he very much wants to do. He craves an education and promises on his mother's grave that he will succeed. After traveling to the city Lucky discovers that his uncle will be of no help to him, the uncle is a greedy man interested only in himself and his hedonistic impulses.
Shortly after arriving, Lucky witnesses some black children harassing an elderly Indian woman that is trying to get some water from a community tap. She curses the children, calling them "Black dogs" as she goes back to her apartment without water. Seeing this, Lucky gets a bucket and fills it with water, carrying it to the woman.
Her first reaction to Lucky is one of dislike and mistrust, although she does accept the water. To understand this it is necessary to know something about the history of racial animosity between the black Africans and Asians in South Africa. In the old apartheid system, the approximately 2% of the population that was Indian were often classified as "colored" and given privileges denied the blacks, leading to tensions between them.
As the Indian woman begins to understand how Lucky is being treated, her prejudices begin to fall and a slow process of friendship and surrogate parenting begins. As Lucky pursues his goals of simply surviving and getting educated, there are references to the long struggle against apartheid. There are people that just want to put that chapter behind them and stay uninvolved with most of what is now happening. To understand this it is necessary to know something about the violence and deaths that took place in South Africa as people struggled to overturn the apartheid system. There were riots with strong government reaction and an armed insurrection.
The main characters are brilliantly portrayed and it is clear that Sihle Dlamani, the actor that played Lucky, is a rising star. There is no question that director Avie Luthra is correct when stating that Dlamani is a natural. The viewer cannot help but empathize with the plight of Lucky as he bounces around, at times homeless but never losing sight of his goals. The ending is not explicitly a happy one, yet there is much that can be implicitly concluded.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely In Awe...., March 9, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Watch this movie. Don't hesitate for a moment; your heart will be filled to capacity, and you'll be left breathless
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely Heartwarming Movie, August 28, 2013
This review is from: Lucky (DVD)
I had the honor of watching this movie last night. It is a moving and compelling story. I found the acting supberb and I hope with all honesty that the young actor who plays Lucky will do many more as well as he did this movie. Just so much to take in and beautifully photographed. This is a classic movie with a very talented cast. It did my heart so much good to experience this wonderful movie. I wish it upon all that I love so they can enjoy it too. I have many twitter followers and I shared the link with them as a gift to my friends.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Moving drama, July 22, 2013
This review is from: Lucky (DVD)
This is an excellent film and one of the best films I have ever seen. It brought me to tears, which hardly ever happens. The film follows a ten year old child who's parents are dead. He leaves his village and goes to the city in South Africa. You have to see this film and watch his journey.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic film, great presentation on DVD, May 28, 2013
This review is from: Lucky (DVD)
Lucky is the story of a 10 year old boy who becomes an orphan who moves in with his uncle, who doesn't want him. He then meets Padma, an Indian with a fear of Africans. They aren't able to speak to one another, which makes the connection, the bond that they share, that much more interesting and special.

If you take the time to watch, you will almost certainly be taken in by the heartwarming story... even if it is difficult to see the boy as anything other than UN-Lucky in the beginning of the tale.

Also included, as an excellent bonus, is the short film that was used as the basis for the feature length version.

Film Movement has created a stellar release for many an "art house" film, and this release continues the tradition of a moving film in a fantastic package.

Video:

The DVD is presented in the 16x9 aspect ratio, which is the ratio from the original film. Despite "only" being on DVD, there is a ton of detail and each shot is well composed.

Audio:

You have a choice of stereo or 5.1 surround in what I believe is the Zulu language. As is the way of most art style releases, it is all about maintaining the original artistic intent of the film, which means presenting it in its original language.

The only option for subtitles is English, which are completely optional. Since I don't understand Zulu, I opted to watch with English subtitles.

I honestly didn't notice much difference between the stereo and the surround track, as it's mainly a dialog driven film.

Extras:

You get the original short film that spawned the full length feature. It is worth watching to get a feel for where the amazing film came from.

Overall:

Lucky is well acted. Presented amazingly well by Film Movement and tells a truly heartfelt, real feeling story about loss, greed, violence and acceptance. You will feel yourself rooting for Lucky on every step of his journey.

Very highly recommended.

Of note, I received a free review copy of this film. Despite receiving items for free, I do not allow this to color my review in any way.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Adults have to lie sometimes. That's how they survive.', May 15, 2013
By 
This review is from: Lucky (DVD)
Film Movement continues to bring brilliant little films of deep significance to our attention. LUCKY originated as a 2005 short film about a lad named Lucky whose parents succumbed to AIDS. Writer/Director Avie Luthra has expanded the message of this story into a full length film and cast it with South African and Indian actors, committed to having the dialogue in Zulu, Hindi, and English (which adds enormously to the film's treatment of isolation) and has discovered a gifted child actor in Sihle Dlamini who portrays the role of Lucky.

Recently orphaned 10-year-old South African Lucky (Sihle Dlamini) observes his beloved but estranged mother returned to his Zulu village in a coffin and being without family he leaves his village to make his own life in the city, having promised his mother in a touching scene at the gravesite that he will make himself better, become educated and make her proud. He makes his way to the nearest big city, lives on the streets, until he locates his uncle (his mother had let him know that should anything happen, her brother would take care of him) who is an irresponsible, womanizing, wayward man who has spent the money Lucky's mother left with him for Lucky's school. Desperately disappointed he seeks help where he can find it and encounters Padma (Jayashree Basavaraj), an elderly Indian woman whose concept of caste means she cannot touch Black people or anything that the Blacks have touched. Padma speaks Hindi and Lucky speaks Zulu so verbal communication is out of the question until Padma engages a genuinely warm taxi driver (James Ngcobo) with whom she can converse in English and translate for her. Lucky has a tape recording his mother left him, and when he finally is able to listen to it he discovers the last words of his dying mother reassuring him of her love. Padma has the taxi driver translate the tape for her and this gains Padma's empathy. The three work together to place Lucky in school, find the man ((Vusi Kunene) who had lived with his mother - a tender but lonely man who tends to the dead - and ultimately through the kindness of strangers Lucky achieves his primary goal: he wants to attend school and find people who will care for him emotionally.

Lucky questions everyone's motives and responses and it is from the taxi driver that he discovers that `Adults have to lie sometimes. That's how they survive.' In his search for his dream, marked by greed, violence, and belonging, Lucky shows how a child's spirit can bring out decency, humility and even love in adults coping with life in the new South Africa. Beautifully written, filmed and acted, this is an exceptional film that deserves the widest possible audience. Grady Harp, May 13
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Lucky
Lucky by Avie Luthra (DVD - 2013)
$24.95 $12.94
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Rate and Discover Movies
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.