Avie Luthra’s LUCKY (2011) – Review


Sometimes luck has to be found.

Sihle Dlamini plays LUCKY, a 10-year-old South African orphan who, perhaps like every other kid his age, dreams of being a pilot. He fashions a miniature plane from discarded aluminum cans and wires to near-perfect model and specifications. He hovers the aircraft through the air with fascination to an unfortunate destination–his mother’s freshly covered grave site. There, Lucky lands his miniature plane and begin to cover it with the dirt from his mother’s grave while reciting a determined eulogy “Mother, I promise that I will make you proud of me. I will go to school, find a good job and be happy.” In honor of his mother’s memory, Lucky leaves the security of his remote Zulu village for the city outfitted in hopes and dreams. Getting there is easy, however, he quickly learns the unreliability of adults.LUCKY

Lucky reunites with his uncle–who was not expecting to see him so soon–at his apartment building. He hands Lucky an envelope from his mother that contains a cassette tape, but he is unable to play it. He spies an elderly Indian woman, Padma (Jayashree Basavra) outside his uncle’s apartment unable to retrieve water from the community faucet; the post-Apartheid influx of blacks caused Padma to developed an inherent fear of Africans. When Lucky realizes that she has a cassette player in her apartment. He retrieved a bucket of water for her–in trade and was able to listen to the cassette his mother left for him. Lucky learns that the money his mother left him to buy a uniform and money for him to go to school is no longer there. Padma, inspired by Lucky’s sincerity and motivation to do something more with his life, decides to help him. In the beginning, self-interest motivated her–Padma received a government stipend every month if she sent Lucky to school– but in a short time, Padma’s hardened heart softened as they both realized that they are all that they have.

Director Avie Luthra’s Lucky (2011) is keen on using bias and cultural differences to transpose dramatic sequences throughout the story. His cameras shadow the lives of the film’s two main protagonists, capturing the environment’s degradation with high significance. In brilliant and believable performances from Dlamini and Basavra, audiences learn that racism and cross-cultural differences relent to humility and acceptance. These two care enough about each other and support each other selflessly.

Through a magnificent odyssey marred by death, greed, and violence, Lucky demonstrates how a child’s inherently good nature can bring about decency and love in the hardest of hearts.


  • Editor Rating

  • Rated 4 stars
  • Excellent

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  • Published on:
  • Last modified: 2016-02-16

Review Summary:

Lucky is an AIDS orphan desperate to leave his Zulu village. He soon finds he must learn about life the hard way.

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