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The Lucky Ones

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Product Details

  • Actors: Tim Robbins, Rachel McAdams, Michael Peña, Howard Platt, Arden Myrin
  • Directors: Neil Burger
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Lions Gate
  • DVD Release Date: January 27, 2009
  • Run Time: 115 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001KP2J2G
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #94,614 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Lucky Ones" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Product Description

After suffering an injury during a routine patrol, hardened sergeant T.K. Poole (Michael Pe¤a) is granted a one-month leave to visit his fiance. But when an unexpected blackout cancels all flights out of New York, T.K. agrees to share a ride to Pittsburgh with two similarly stranded servicemen: Cheever (Tim Robbins), an older family man who longs to return to his wife in St. Louis, and Colee (Rachel McAdams), a naive private who's pinned her hopes on connecting with a dead fellow soldier's family. What begins as a short trip unexpectedly evolves into a longer journey. Forced to grapple with old relationships, broken hopes and a country divided over the war, T.K., Cheever and Colee discover that home is not quite what they remembered, and that the unlikely companionship they've found might be what matters the most.


An earnest if not wholly satisfying comedy-drama about an awkward homecoming for three dissimilar Iraq War veterans, The Lucky Ones works best as a vehicle for its interesting lead performances. Tim Robbins transcends his real-life, anti-war reputation by playing Cheever, a Reservist and decent fellow who is injured in Iraq when a porta-potty falls on him. Eager to see his family, he ends up on a road trip with two other soldiers trying to reach their own destinations. There's Colee (Rachel McAdams), a young and earnest woman who enlisted to escape family problems, endured a leg wound and is on her way to meet the family of her boyfriend, who was killed in combat. There's also T.K. (Michael Peña), recruited from a poor family and granted a month's leave after becoming impotent from a wound. The odyssey these characters, initially strangers to each other, share is fairly predictable for anyone who has seen such classic vets-coming-home movies as The Best Years of Our Lives. As Colee, T.K. and Cheever travel together, they encounter what sometimes feels and looks like an alien landscape: people who patronize them, people who despise the war without an inkling of what it's like to endure it, and a host of other exploitative chuckleheads who just don't get it. Inevitably, the trio has only itself to rely upon, to share the knowledge of the war's reality and provide support in ways that are sometimes funny and sometimes poignant. Co-written and directed by Neil Burger (The Illusionist), The Lucky Ones has a rambling structure that causes the film to lose focus. But its heart is in the right place, and Robbins, McAdams and Peña play people one can care about as much as enjoy. --Tom Keogh

Customer Reviews

The ending leaves one hoping for more, but life and the decisions one makes are forever consequential.
Joe M. Ramos
They are thinking more of how to pick up the pieces in their lives on their leave, and deal with the personal damage that any war can inflict on a soldier's life.
Aside from that, they are different ages and cultures with widely ranging family backgrounds, but they share one other thing.
John S. Socha

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on February 16, 2009
Format: DVD
Amazon.com recapped the plot ably if less than enthusiastically, so I'll just jump to the praise. A truly fantastic movie! Intelligent, hilarious, touching, surprising, thoughtful, wonderfully performed, even suspensful. Superlatives do not do this movie justice because each one demands it's own exclamation when instead they are all woven together into the seemless and harmonic beauty that is this film's quiet grandeur. And don't forget it's very funny. So do yourself a great favor and see a movie with characters you will not want to leave, or leave each other. Thanks, and have a nice evening.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By P. Schumacher on December 2, 2009
Format: DVD
"The Lucky Ones" shows that a great movie can be made on a shoestring, without car explosions or special effects or any whizbangery.

All it takes is terrific acting, moving characters, great writing, and appropriate (often spectacular, sometimes grimy) scenery.

This one is the story of three soldiers, on leave from Iraq for wounds, who meet and share a ride--then share much more. They become emotionally close, even spiritually intimate, all the moreso because the civilian worlds they are returning to crumble around them like fading dreams.

Colee (Rachel McAdams) is the youngest, most innocent: wide-eyed, eager, happy, frank, unashamed, friendly, loving, open to anything. She is the forever-child--who learns, but never loses her innocent wonder, no matter how many shocks she endures.

She provides the catalyst for Cheever (Tim Robbins), the old timer who is looking forward to being DONE with the army and war, but whose world collapses and who, the others fear, has reached suicide; and for T.K. (Michael Pena), the young hotshot who has life all figured out, ready for his climb to the top--until nothing works.

It's Colee who points out the wonderful beauty of life they are passing through--which the other two almost miss, and who indicates how they can start over.

The ending is terribly sad and uplifting and scary and hopeless all at once.

There are many "war" movies, and they are pretty much all the same.

This is a "peace" movie, which shows how difficult and how rewarding peace can be--but also how fragile.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By H. Schneider on April 15, 2009
Format: DVD
The movie combines the well established road movie genre with the more recent 'returners from Iraq' genre. It is a comedy that makes light of personal tragedies and does it gracefully. I watched it in a 'combi pack' with 'Stop Loss', the much more serious film about soldiers who are forced to return to the front after their contracted term has expired.

In The Lucky Ones, Robbins is a sergeant who has completed his term and who looks forward to return to wife and teenage son. Pena and McAdams are on a 30 days home leave. The three get accidentally grouped together for a car trip from New York to Las Vegas and experience the difficulties of outsiders in an ambiguous situation. None of them has stable social circumstances, as even the Robbins character finds out to his shock. Their social backgrounds are quite divergent. They are variously feted as war heroes or attacked by the home crowd for being either too stupid to stay away from trouble or too luke warm about the war effort itself. The backseat drivers in middle American require heroic attitudes, not a statement that survival is a soldier's main objective.
This is the kind of movie that discusses problems without indoctrinating you.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Robert J. Crawford on November 24, 2009
Format: DVD
There are so many films like this, some people thrown together in a circumstance - this one coming home from the Iraq War to some bad surprises - and they become friends while traveling and find new meaning. While the actors are quite wonderful, something about it didn't quite ring true for me and there was nothing whatsoever original about it. There are borderline ridiculous many comedic scenes, but the tone is more serious than not. You can't have frolicsome tragedy. McAdams is far too beautiful to be a normal grunt and Robbins' personal crisis is too predictable and conventional. Pena, I thought, was the best: a tightly wound guy who slowly started to fall apart later on. I also liked the presence of the killed boyfriend, who is a very real and evolving character thru the film. Unfortunately, I was kind of waiting for it to end.

Recommended. There are some good parts in it, but it often just didn't work for me.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mary L. Cooley on March 3, 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is so thoroughly enjoyable I had to watch it 3 times before I was done watching it. I loved seeing these troubled soldiers come to a place of peace. Great.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jason VINE VOICE on July 3, 2010
Format: DVD
While there are some disassociations with reality and home life for those stationed overseas in war, three returning wounded soldiers must objectively view their fortune when their home lives begin to dissolve around them. T.K. (Michael Pena), a leader returning to his fiancée in a precarious situation; Cheaver (Tim Robbins), an old veteran who is bidding adieu to his Army career but facing a home life that is potentially more volatile than war; and Colee (Rachel McAdams), a naïve but fresh-faced Private returning a loved one's heirloom to his family while dragging around her bum leg.

This wonderful tale of three soldiers sharing time on a cross-country road trip moves a bit slowly, but the realism, character development, and impeccable acting helps the pacing move along a bit. Friendship among the three appears to be real, and their bond forms quickly as they learn about one another's life and troubles. Charming chemistry is tough to come by; yet the camaraderie among these three returning soldiers feels genuine.

Much like Home of the Brave, there are some unfortunate clichés holding back the script. Not all soldiers sleep in their PTs, all soldiers coming home from war do not have PTSD, and despite what Hollywood would have us believe, they don't resort to violence as a first response to difficult situations when they have difficulties fitting into "normal" society. It's just a slanted view of troubled soldiers that gives the impression of people who are different from the rest of us, and I wish there were more movies that showed similarities instead of perceived differences. Our society has evolved quite a bit since the post-Vietnam days. I hate to say it, but I suspect this paragraph has something to do with Tim Robbins' politics.
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