Is Lucy in the Sky a True Story? All About Natalie Portman’s Space Movie 

Filmmakers get inspiration for films from various sources; sometimes the script of a movie is a well thought out story where the imagination of the writer is at its best. At other times, some films are actually real-life stories of people replicated on-screen as exactly as it happened or with more drama and twists to thrill viewers. In recent times, one film that has come into an intense debate about the realness of its storyline or otherwise is Natalie Portman’s Lucy in the Sky. In the paragraphs below, we are going to tell you all you need to know about the film especially whether it is a real-life story or not.

Is Lucy In the Sky A True Story?

The storyline of Lucy in the Sky revolves around the love life of an astronaut who despite having a successful career with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), lost it all when she went to confront a woman who her ex-lover was seeing. Thus, Natalie Portman’s Lucy in the Sky space movie is a true story about a real-life person – her career and love life.

The film is a biopic of Lisa Marie Nowak, a former American naval flight officer and NASA astronaut born on May 10, 1963, in Washington D.C. She was born to Alfredo and Jane Caputo of Rockville, Maryland who raised her. Nowak attended Charles W. Woodward High School in Rockville, Maryland where she graduated from in 1981 before enrolling at the United States Naval Academy where she bagged a Bachelor of Science degree in aerospace engineering in 1985. In 1992, she earned her Masters of Science degree as an aeronautic engineer and another degree from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California in aeronautical and astronautical engineering.

As seen on Lucy in the Sky and in line with the actual story, Lisa Nowak started her career with the United States Navy in 1985. She began serving as a Naval Flight Officer in 1987 at NAS Pensacola, Florida. Later on, she joined NASA Astronaut Corps at the Johnson Space Center. She was on Space Shuttle Discovery during the STS-121 mission in 2006. In the mission, she operated the robotic arm of the shuttle and spent almost 13 days in space with her other crew members. This mission earned her the NASA Space Flight Medal which she was awarded on June 5, 2007, at the Johnson Space Center.

Though Lisa Nowak had a commendable career with NASA, it was her love life and how she went about it that brought her to the knowledge of many people. Lisa was first married to Richard T. Nowak with whom she bore three children. A son in 1992 and twin daughters in 2001. She and Robert, however, separated in 2007 and divorced afterward. She began a downward spiral after the divorce and lost touch with reality following this sad event. This phase of her life was portrayed in Lucy in the Sky to be a likelihood of her staying long in space – something that critics don’t agree with.

Nevertheless, following her divorce from Robert, Lisa got into a relationship with William Anthony “Bill” Oefelein who was also recently divorced. At the time, the duo worked together at the Johnson Space Centre as their relationship blossomed for two years. However, Bill got fed up with it all and began seeing another woman named Colleen Shipman. Colleen is an engineer working with the 45th Space Wing at Patrick Air Force Base, Florida.

Natalie Portman as Lisa Cola
Natalie Portman as Lisa Nowak in Lucy in the Sky (image source)

Robert’s relationship with Colleen obviously irked Lisa who thought it best to go after Colleen. On Feb. 5, 2007, Lisa drove to the Orlando International Airport in Orlando, Florida from Houston with some incriminating materials in the trunk of her car. This was also well portrayed in the biopic. Colleen was set to land at the airport on the said day and she did land. On sighting Colleen at the parking lot, Lisa quickly went after her and pepper-sprayed the inside of Colleen’s car who quickly drove off to the parking lot booth where she then got police attention. Lisa was subsequently arrested and later on charged for kidnapping and attempted first-degree murder. As the case went on, she pleaded guilty for felony burglary of a car and misdemeanor battery in 2009. Her sentence was 1-year probation, 50 hours of community service and an 8-hour anger management course.

As expected, Lisa Nowak’s career with NASA and the Navy ended less honorably than it should have. While NASA outrightly dismissed her, the NAVY gave her an “other than honorable” discharge.

About Natalie Portman’s Space Movie

  • Cast

In the American drama film Lucy in the Sky which told the story of the rise and fall of Lisa Nowak, actors and actresses who played various characters in the film include Natalie Portman as Lucy Cola, Dan Stevens as Drew Cola, Jon Hamm as Mark Goodwin, Zazie Beetz as Erin Eccles, Ellen Burstyn as Nana Holbrook and several others.

  • Release Date

Lucy in the Sky premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 11, 2019, and is scheduled to be released on the 4th of October 2019.

  • Lisa in the Sky’s Budget

The film was made with a budget of $27 million. Just like other Natalie Portman’s movies, it is believed by both viewers and critics that Lucy in the Sky had a terrible outing. The movie made $55,000 in its opening weekend and got an abysmal 22% rating on Rotten Tomatoes from 122 reviews.

  • Controversy About the Film

The film has been criticized by Marcha Ivins, a retired astronaut for suggesting that astronauts begin to lose grasp of reality after being in space for a long time.


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