Films & Schedules

  • The Lucky Ones

  • Neil Burger

113 minutes

Production Company:
Koppelman & Levien/Overnight/QED International
Executive Producer:
Bill Block, Elliot Ferwerda, Paul Hanson, Brian McCormack, Marina Grasic, Steffen Aumueller, Claus Clausen, Jan Korbelin, Tom Ortenberg, Adam Merims
Brian Koppelman, David Levien, Rick Schwartz, Neil Burger
Written By:
Neil Burger, Dirk Wittenborn
Director of Photography: Declan Quinn

Production Designer:
Leslie Pope
Naomi Geraghty
Lewis Goldstein
Rolfe Kent
Principal Cast: Rachel McAdams, Tim Robbins, Michael Peña

Canadian Distributor:
Maple Pictures
US Distributor:
Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions

Wednesday September 1006:30PM ROY THOMSON HALL Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist
Thursday September 1111:00AM VISA SCREENING ROOM (ELGIN) Best Bet Add Film to MyTIFF Filmlist

Featuring standout performances by Tim Robbins, Rachel McAdams and Michael Peña, Neil Burger's new film begins as a road movie but deepens into a moving story of three Americans who face the disorienting feeling of coming home.

They are soldiers, of course, but this soon becomes the least important thing about them. In Germany, T.K. Poole (Peña), Colee Dunn (McAdams) and Fred Cheever (Robbins) meet as they board the same plane bound for New York City. On leave or at the end of their service, they have their sights set only on the joys that await them. So when a blackout grounds their connecting flights in New York, they are simply too impatient to wait. United only by their military experience, they decide to rent a minivan together in order to reach home faster. But the plan stops cold in suburban St. Louis, where Cheever's much-anticipated reunion with his wife and son takes a surprising course. After that, the only road worth taking is the one out of town.

Working with his co-writer Dirk Wittenborn, Burger crafts telling scenes that cut to the emotional core of what these three people encounter upon their return to America. Colee is instantly enraged when a few women mock her working-class status, a rank she left behind when she put on a uniform. T.K. both found and lost his masculinity in the war; as he heads home to his fiancée, he gets more and more anxious about proving himself. And Cheever, who seemed to have the most stable home life, finds himself truly adrift. In a scene both comic and gut-wrenching, a woman seduces him at a party simply because he fought in Iraq.

Each scene in The Lucky Ones draws us closer and closer to these characters, partly by showing the reactions they elicit from civilians. A visit to a mega-church is illuminating, as are the constant awkward thank-yous from strangers. As Cheever, Colee and T.K. find their path towards home, it is these sometimes heartbreaking moments that mark the way.

Neil Burger was born in Connecticut and currently lives in New York City. He graduated from Yale University with a degree in fine arts. In addition to directing commercials and television spots, he has written and directed the feature films Interview with the Assassin (02), The Illusionist (06), which was nominated for an Academy Award® for best cinematography, and The Lucky Ones (08).

Cadillac People's Choice Award