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Lou movie review: Allison Janney’s version of Taken is rather underwhelming

The Academy Award winning actress plays an ex-CIA agent trying to find her neighbour's missing child. 

2/5rating
Lou movie review: Allison Janney’s version of Taken is rather underwhelming

Allison Janney in a still from the film

  • Prathibha Joy

Last Updated: 02.18 PM, Sep 23, 2022

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Story: When Lou’s (Allison Janney) neighbour Hannah’s (Jurnee Smollett) young daughter Vee (Ridley Asha Bateman) goes missing, kidnapped by her father who’d been presumed dead, the elderly ‘girl scout’ jumps into action to find the child. Why is Lou invested in finding Vee? Who is Lou beside being the woman who lives alone, with only her dog Jax for company, hunts deer and socialises very little in the little island town she’s made home?

Review: When was the last time you watched a film/series for a particular actor or actors, as the case maybe, and then wondered why they were in it? I have to be honest, it happens to me quite often, when all I see about an upcoming movie or show is if I like any of the cast members. So, I was in familiar territory yet again today, when I sat down to watch Allison Janney’s Lou. I really like Allison, but I cannot wrap my head around why she would play an ageing former CIA agent with a particular set of skill sets who sets out to find her neighbour’s missing kid. As Lou, Allison is a John Wick (Keanu Reeves) meets Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson in Taken) here, whose plans to off herself with a loaded rifle pressed against her lower jaw are temporarily set aside for this rescue mission.

The poor woman, along with Jurnee Smollet, trudge along in pursuit of the kidnapper amid heavy rain and is quite formidable in the combat scenes. But when her motivation in going after the kid and her kidnapper is revealed, that’s when disappointment sets in. Turns out, all four at the centre of this kidnapping drama have some connect. If you hadn’t worked that much out before this reveal, then you are not watching enough Hollywood thrillers.

A still from the film
A still from the film

Allison, of course, gives Lou her best, but you cannot help but feel that the film was just not worth her while. It begs the question to the makers - when you’ve got the opportunity to work with an Academy Award winning actor, why would you dumb her down with a done-to-death subject? Just because a bunch of 50+ heroes are doing these films, do the women have to do the exact same thing? I get the need for equal representation, but having women take on franchises and roles that men made famous earlier isn’t exactly a step in the right direction. Instead of all-women cast reboots or, for that matter, action thrillers like Lou, why not write more intelligent stories for these actors?

Verdict: What a wasted opportunity Lou is! If you’ve got the film lined up on your watchlist, hold on. You may want to re-think that. There are a hell of a lot better movies/shows featuring Allison Janney that might catch your fancy. You can keep Lou for a very, very rainy day.

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