Making the Grades
I’m often critical of the male fantasy movie—the one where the nerdy guy has a bevy of beautiful women begging for his attention and affection. But women have their fantasies too—like a man who mysteriously shows up and fixes everything, from the gutters to a broken heart. The Lucky One is definitely the latter.
While on tour in Iraq, Sergeant Logan Thibault (Zac Efron) escapes not one but several life threatening attacks that take the lives of his fellow soldiers. After one blitz, he finds a dust-covered picture of a beautiful blonde lying in the rubble. The only words inscribed on the back are “keep safe”. Through the rest of that tour and the next one that is exactly what the angelic figure seems to do for Logan. And he promises himself he’ll find her and thank her if he ever gets home.
Retuning from a combat zone is harder than any of us who haven’t done it can imagine. But Logan decides to deal with his demons by walking from Colorado to Louisiana where he hopes to find his protector. He discovers her working in a family-run kennel outside of a small town. But he can’t come up with the words to thank Beth (Taylor Schilling) or even explain who he is. She mistakenly thinks he is there to apply for a job and before he knows it, Logan is walking dogs and cleaning kennels thanks to Beth’s grandma Ellie who offers him work.
Beth hesitantly begins to accept his presence around the place although she remains cautious of his attempts at friendship. Orphaned as a young child and facing a new tragedy makes her keep to herself. But her former husband Keith (Jay R. Ferguson) has no qualms about expressing his dislike for the new hired help. Keith is the sheriff in a town where the law takes a backseat to personal interests and powerful politicians and the last thing he wants is someone building a relationship with his ex-wife or his son Ben (Riley Thomas Stewart).
Meanwhile Logan quietly goes about repairing things around the place without nary a nag or even suggestion. It endears him to the single women living in the house and likely most of the females in the audience. (Truly this is love!)
However, once the characters are cast and the situation is established, the rest of the story is painfully predictable. As sure as Logan can overhaul a tractor, he’ll try to patch up Beth’s damaged heart. But that won’t happen without some nasty threats from the abusive Keith and the strained moment of truth when she discovers who Logan really is.
While the Louisiana landscape offers a lovely backdrop for this romantic romp, some steamy moments of intimacy that lack chemistry, an excessively contrived ending and underwhelming performances all make this an unlucky choice for family viewing.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about The Lucky One.
What challenges face vets who return from combat? What resources are available to them? How can family and friends help with the transition back to civilian life? What long-term difficulties may they face? Why does Logan react so violently to the video game and innocent ambush?
How can animals, especially dogs, help veterans? America’s Vet Dogs is one program that pairs dogs and returning soldiers.
Why is Keith often so harsh with Ben? Why is it difficult for Ben to live up to his father’s expectations? Who does Keith learn his parenting skills from? Is it surprising that Keith struggles to be a positive person in his son’s life?