"The Lucky Ones" shows that a great movie can be made on a shoestring, without car explosions or special effects or any whizbangery.
All it takes is terrific acting, moving characters, great writing, and appropriate (often spectacular, sometimes grimy) scenery.
This one is the story of three soldiers, on leave from Iraq for wounds, who meet and share a ride--then share much more. They become emotionally close, even spiritually intimate, all the moreso because the civilian worlds they are returning to crumble around them like fading dreams.
Colee (Rachel McAdams) is the youngest, most innocent: wide-eyed, eager, happy, frank, unashamed, friendly, loving, open to anything. She is the forever-child--who learns, but never loses her innocent wonder, no matter how many shocks she endures.
She provides the catalyst for Cheever (Tim Robbins), the old timer who is looking forward to being DONE with the army and war, but whose world collapses and who, the others fear, has reached suicide; and for T.K. (Michael Pena), the young hotshot who has life all figured out, ready for his climb to the top--until nothing works.
It's Colee who points out the wonderful beauty of life they are passing through--which the other two almost miss, and who indicates how they can start over.
The ending is terribly sad and uplifting and scary and hopeless all at once.
There are many "war" movies, and they are pretty much all the same.
This is a "peace" movie, which shows how difficult and how rewarding peace can be--but also how fragile.