Scarlett's Lucy Kicks PTSD in the Face in an Action Flick Where Women Win
By Deb Rox on August 06, 2014
BlogHer Original Post
The film is deliberate in showing her going through these stages, down to calling her mother from an emergency room. Lucy is a revenge and triumph fantasy about transcending violence against women, and that's the context that makes all of the seemingly unneccesary violence make complete sense.
If you don't see that context, the movie might be disappointing. I've heard viewers say one disappointment is they didn't like that Lucy doesn't gain warmth in her wisdom, that she seems robotic in the final act. That choice made perfect sense to me, though, in that Lucy is written to play against expectations that women are pre-destined to be nurturing life forces and in fact can't be while under attack. In one of the Morgan Freeman lectures (which offer the science-ish theories of the Lucy universe), he asserts that cellular life forces will take one of two paths. If an environment is safe, entities will reproduce. But if an environment is not hospitable, an entity will do what it needs to do to survive. Lucy, as the stand-in for women subjected to gendered violence in a seriously compromised culture, must choose the latter. The plot shows her solely motivated not to bear babies, but to tell her story.
Sure, Hollywood loves guns and shootouts in beautiful foreign settings, and there is pandering to old action movie tropes in Lucy. Plenty of this film's pseudo-science and exposition fancies are imperfect if you want to focus on that. But I'll take her, this Lucy of increasing brain power, this Lucy who wasn't stopped as a victim and who didn't cap out in her healing. I'll cheer when her numbers bump up to 20-30-40 percent, and bite my knuckles at the immensity of her at 80-90-100. Shoot me for being thrilled that Scarlett Johansson is teaching Hollywood how we're ready to be treated in movies and in our theater seats, and maybe even on the streets – and what might happen if we're denied.
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