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Harry Dean Stanton gives the performance of a lifetime as an irascible nonagenarian maverick grappling with his mortality.
Director: John Carroll Lynch
One of America’s greatest character actors gets a superb valedictory leading role in a funny and touching portrait of a 90-year-old loner staring down mortality. The titles declare, ‘Harry Dean Stanton IS Lucky’. And with the opening scenes, as this aged ex-cowboy determinedly goes about his daily business in a small desert town – smoking, yoga, TV game shows, more smoking – it’s instantly clear how tailored the role is to Stanton’s creased, fiercely unsentimental charms. When an unexpected fall jolts Lucky from his comfort zone, actor-turned-debut-director John Carroll Lynch (Fargo, Zodiac) stealthily widens his scope to present a gentle, wise and ultimately graceful reflection on loss and acceptance.
There are wonderful supporting turns from David Lynch and Stanton’s Alien cohort Tom Skerritt, but it’s Harry Dean who really shines here, giving his greatest lead performance since 1984’s Paris, Texas. Lucky us.