Huddled together, knee to knee with the other hapless passengers on last week’s trip to visit one of the 11 DoD Clinical Psychology Training sites, I stopped working on my notes when the cabin crew began to show The Lucky One. The film starring Zac Efron (Logan), Taylor Schilling (Beth) and Blythe Danner tells the story of a Marine Sergeant who searches for his guardian angel – an unknown woman in a photograph that he found on the battlefield and subsequently carried as a safety talisman during his tours of duty in Iraq.
Most of the movie is forgettable: overly stereotyped characters, a rush through character and story development and a plot that is in turns unbelievable (stranger travels across the country and is quickly and intimately integrated into a family) and overly predictable (a matter of not if, but when the love interests will end up together).
From a behavioral health perspective I found only two areas of mild interest. The first is a scene in the too short beginning when Logan returns to CONUS from his tours of duty, in which he has an uncomfortable stay at this sister’s house that culminates in him attacking his young nephew who inadvertently activates his arousal system during some innocent horseplay. Watching him pin the child down, one can think about how this type of scenario might play out within service members and veterans homes.
The second (and the only story line that was at all interesting) is the relationship between Taylor’s young son and Logan who encourage each other in a cinematic “battle buddy way” to confront their anxieties and fears. Both demonstrate resiliency and growth throughout the movie in the only scenes that had any action or humor.
In the tradition of moviegoers everywhere I give this one a big “thumbs down”. Use your time more wisely and re-watch Restrepo or Saving Private Ryan.