Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
You Likely Won't Find a More Candid & Comprehensive Interview with Euzhan Palcy Than This One... You Likely Won't Find a More Candid & Comprehensive Interview with Euzhan Palcy Than This One... Watch Clip From 'Teachers' - a Film on the Education Crisis in the USA, Starring Tatyana Ali Watch Clip From 'Teachers' - a Film on the Education Crisis in the USA, Starring Tatyana Ali 40+ Black Filmmakers Will Take Over Twitter Tomorrow for an AFFRM-ing Objective. You Should Join Them... 40+ Black Filmmakers Will Take Over Twitter Tomorrow for an AFFRM-ing Objective. You Should Join Them... The Nina Simone Bio Starring Zoe Saldana Will Apparently Be Released Later This Year... The Nina Simone Bio Starring Zoe Saldana Will Apparently Be Released Later This Year... The American Black Film Festival Announces Its 2015 Films in Competition The American Black Film Festival Announces Its 2015 Films in Competition Why ‘The View’ Badly Needs Raven-Symoné Why ‘The View’ Badly Needs Raven-Symoné It's Black Bike Week! Watch 2 Short Documentaries on the Popular Annual Event It's Black Bike Week! Watch 2 Short Documentaries on the Popular Annual Event Gabrielle Union Joins Jamie Foxx in a Race to Save His Kidnapped Son, in 'Sleepless Night' Gabrielle Union Joins Jamie Foxx in a Race to Save His Kidnapped Son, in 'Sleepless Night' Meet the Cast of FX's 'American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson' (First-Look Images) Meet the Cast of FX's 'American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson' (First-Look Images) Here's the List of Films & TV Series Coming to (and Leaving) Netflix's Streaming Library in June Here's the List of Films & TV Series Coming to (and Leaving) Netflix's Streaming Library in June Watch Trailer for Teen TV Drama Series in Development, ‘MysEducation’ Watch Trailer for Teen TV Drama Series in Development, ‘MysEducation’ Watch a Clip From Ethiopia's First-Ever Cannes "Official Selection" - Coming-of-Age Drama 'Lamb' Watch a Clip From Ethiopia's First-Ever Cannes "Official Selection" - Coming-of-Age Drama 'Lamb' Watch Grace Jones’ “Banned” Citroën CX TV Commercial Watch Grace Jones’ “Banned” Citroën CX TV Commercial 'Chocolate City' Finally Gets a Trailer + Release Date Set (Might It Steal Some of 'Magic Mike's' Summer Thunder?) 'Chocolate City' Finally Gets a Trailer + Release Date Set (Might It Steal Some of 'Magic Mike's' Summer Thunder?) Apparently, Many of You Aren't Pleased With the "All-New" 'Single Ladies'... What's Going on? Apparently, Many of You Aren't Pleased With the "All-New" 'Single Ladies'... What's Going on? Starz Announces Return Date for Original Series 'Power' + New Key Art + Trailer Starz Announces Return Date for Original Series 'Power' + New Key Art + Trailer Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

Netflix Streaming Review: Orphan Boy Finds Home w/ Prejudiced Shrew in Moving Drama 'Lucky'

Shadow and Act By Vanessa Martinez | Shadow and Act August 21, 2013 at 5:18PM

The South African drama Lucky, directed by Avie Luthra, opened in theaters in South Africa in 2011. Unfortunately, the moving tale of an orphan boy seeking refuge in the home of a cantankerous and racist Indian woman, never made it to theaters in the U.S.
6
Lucky review still

The South African drama Lucky, directed by Avie Luthra, opened in theaters in South Africa in 2011. Unfortunately, the moving tale of an orphan boy seeking refuge in the home of a cantankerous and racist Indian woman, never made it to theaters in the U.S. 

Lucky for you however (pun intended), the film is now streaming on Netflix. 

The bereaved 10 year-old, whose mother dies of AIDS, leaves his native Zulu village to start a new life in the city. He is not-so-welcomed by his uncle, whom –through a cassette tape -we soon find out was asked by his late sister to provide him shelter and an education with the money she has left him. 

Lucky, played by first timer Sihle Dlamini, isn’t expecting much more than a roof over his head and an education, but after a confrontation with his ill-natured uncle, Lucky begins to lurk around the home of an elder Indian neighbor named Padma, played wondrously in all its human complexity by Jayashree Basavra. It’s not clear why Lucky sets his eyes on this shrew of a woman. He watches her get bullied by black South Africans; it’s obvious she is prejudiced, and, perhaps, she has unconsciously invited this aggression and scorn into her life. 

The lonesome, resentful woman is mean spirited towards her new young visitor, and it’s heartrending to see Lucky fail at his attempts to appease her. He offers to clean her apartment for shelter. She starts allowing him to sleep in her terrace. There’s also a language barrier aside from the obvious cultural one: Lucky speaks Zulu, while Padma speaks Hindi. 

Eventually, after facing the rage of her uncle, who has come banging at her door looking for Lucky, Padma begins to show signs of compassion for the boy, even if her self-interest is at the core. Padma only socializes within her Indian community in the city, even if it’s only seldom. It is only at the advice of another Indian woman from a restaurant she patronizes, that she realizes she could earn a monthly stipend if she becomes the boy’s guardian. 

For most of the film, you yearn for this young, grief-stricken boy to be loved and embraced like he should to the viewer’s frustration. Can someone hold him; give him a hot plate of food and a comfortable bed? Lucky’s vow for full independence is unnatural at his age; he has kept his feelings subdued in order to survive, and watching him express the natural need for familiar affection and normalcy is pitiful. 

Padma is not affectionate, and she doesn’t suddenly become so whatsoever, at least not in the conventional sense. She does however, become invested in the safety and well-being of her unlikely “son” when she helps Lucky in the search of his real father. 

Thanks due to nuanced and understated, yet powerfully emotive performances by the leads, especially Basavra’s Padma (one of the most realistic performances I’ve seen on screen in recent memory, especially from an actress who has been in 2 previous films), Lucky is both touching and believable without being heavy-handed and sappy. When the film really tugs at your heartstrings, it feels overdue; the sentimentality is welcomed and satisfying, especially watching Padma put her guard down and open up to Lucky, as the unlikely pair begin to genuinely and selflessly care for each other in spite of all else.

This article is related to: Reviews, NetFlix


Shadow & ActNewsletter