By Laura Longsworth
As this documentary film unfolds, viewers are drawn into an intimate family struggle. Tom Luckey is coping with recent and dramatic changes in his life. Handsome, outgoing, and wildly creative, Tom approaches life with utter abandon. A builder of interactive art, he has spent his career making furniture that was more inclined toward sculpture than function, wooden merry-go-rounds that he hauled into Central Park, and enormous sculptures for children to climb.
Then at age 65, Tom tumbles through a window in his bathroom and lands on the floor of the tiled dining room a story below. He damages his second vertebra and becomes paralyzed below his neck. Tom spends months in rehab. When he emerges he can move only his head, but his verve is much the same. He wants to get on with life and finish the enormous climbable sculpture he had been commissioned to build at the Boston Children’s Museum prior to his accident.
Tom enlists the help of his son Spencer. As they build the sculpture and try to forge a working relationship from a complex father-son relationship, both push for their own vision. Their rivalry is creative — they argue over art, design, and execution — but they are also reeling emotionally because of Tom’s accident. Add into the mix tom’s wife, Ettie. She and Tom had a passionate marriage, but the accident changed that. She and Spencer (Tom’s son from his first marriage) have never gotten along, but are now Tom’s primary caretakers.
In the course of the film, through moments of anger, joy, and breathtaking ego, the sculpture is built. From trying to re-spark his romantic life with Ettie to keeping his work going with Spencer, Tom wrestles with his new condition as a paralyzed person. The implementation of Tom’s artistic vision while maintaining independence and sanity becomes a tricky balance for all involved. Luckey is a portrait of a family in crisis and one man’s effort to create a new life in the wake of a devastating accident.
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“[Luckey] gets to the heart of what a health crisis does to a family and how “quality of life” is about much more than physical care and comfort, but about the spirit and imagination as well.” Belinda Acosta, Austin Chronicle
“Laura Longsworth's documentary is about two type-A personalities battling bitterly across a generational divide, wrestling questions of authorship, art, and hardware to the ground.” Ty Burr, Boston Globe
“Luckey is a classy, engrossing documentary.” Gerald Peary, The Boston Phoenix
Awards & Conference Screenings
International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam, 2008
Woods Hole Film Festival, 2009
Maine International Film Festival, 2009
Independent Film Festival Boston, 2009
Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival, Special Jury Award for Artistic Portrait, 2009
Indie Memphis, Best Documentary Feature, 2009
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