It seems that our country always keeps a war going somewhere so we have a steady supply of veterans coming home and trying to adjust to life in the good old USA. The Lucky Ones tells the story of three soldiers that come home from Iraq, two for 30 days R&R, one for good.
Tim Robbins does a great job as the lifer who just got out. Rachel McAdams plays Colee, a young private who is open, bubbly, optimistic and always positive, albeit without anyone to spend her 30 days with. Her lover and soldier friend died in Iraq and she’s on a mission to return his guitar to his family. Michael Pena plays TK, a sergeant brimming with confidence and optimism.
All three are injured lightly. The girl was shot in the leg, the lifer has a bad lower back, and TK had shrapnel in the groin, which gives him concern about his masculinity. Those are their physical injuries, but they are the least of their worries. Coming back from the war, they find nothing left in their country to be excited about, and we watch their realizations unfold.
We need a steady stream of veterans movies to keep us thinking. On Memorial Day we think about all the soldiers that have given their lives — or shall I say — whose lives we have taken. But we forget about the scores of men and women whose lives we have changed forever, either by maiming injuries to body or mind, by uprooting their family lives and careers to the point where they can never settle back, and by implanting pictures into their memories that they can never let go.
The Lucky Ones are lucky because they are alive. And they paid dearly. The only question is: Did they pay that price for a worthwhile bargain?