Lucy Miller (Scarlett Johansson) is an American studying in Taipei, Taiwan, who is tricked into acting as a drug mule by her boyfriend Richard (Pilou Asvaek) for a South Korean gangster drug lord. She delivers a briefcase to a Mister Jang (Choi Min-Sik) that contains four packets of CPH4, an expensive synthetic drug.
Richard is shot and killed. She is captured and a bag of the drug is sewn into her abdomen to be delivered to Europe. She is kicked in the stomach, rupturing the bag and releasing a large quantity of the drug into her body. This gives her enhanced physical and mental capabilities, like telepathy, telekinesis, time-travel, and the inability to feel pain. Ruthless and emotionless, she kills her captors and escapes.
Lucy goes to the hospital to have the bag removed from her abdomen and is told that natural CPH4 is usually produced by pregnant women during the sixth week to provide energy for the developing foetus. Becoming even more powerful, she returns to Mister Jang’s hotel, kills all his bodyguards, and telepathically learns the locations of the other three drug mules.
She contacts a scientist named Samuel Borman (Morgan Freeman). After proving her new abilities, she flies to Paris and contacts Police Captain Pierre Del Rio (Amr Waked) to help her find the rest of the drugs. On the flight, she sips champagne and her cells begin to destabilize. She ingests more of the drug to correct the situation. With Del Rio’s help, she is able to get her hands on the rest of the drugs. She agrees to share all her knowledge with Professor Norman.
In the laboratory, she discusses the nature of Time and Life and how one’s humanity distorts one’s perceptions. She demands to be injected with the contents of all three bags of CPH4, and her body changes into a black substance that spreads over the computers in the lab to create a giant super-computer. Mentally, she journeys through space and time, meeting the australopithecine Lucy, ancestor of mankind. They touch and she travels to the beginning of Time to witness the Big Bang.
Mister Jang enters the lab and aims a gun at Lucy’s head. He fires it but she disappears into the space-time continuum, leaving only her clothes and the computers. Del Rio shoots Jang. Professor Norman accepts a black flash-drive offered by the computer. When Del Rio asks where Lucy is, his cell phone reads, “I am everywhere,” and Lucy’s voice says, “Life was given to us a billion years ago, Now you know what to do with it.”
The film was written and directed by Luc Besson for EuropaCorp and produced by his wife Virginie Besson-Silla. It is in English and was shot in Taipei, Paris, and New York City. It was a huge box-office success and received polarized reviews. Scarlett Johansson and the visuals were praised, the science criticized. The special effects were by Industrial Light and Magic, supervised by Richard Bluff. The music was by long-time Besson associate Eric Serra. The unusual 50% female audience for a science-fiction movie is attributed to Scarlett Johansson. It took nine years to complete the script.
The story that Angelina Jolie was originally cast is not true, according to Luc Besson. Johansson reacted strongly to the script and was first choice. He also said that he knew the oft-quoted theory that we only use one-tenth of our brain is not true, but it was a great start to a science-fiction flick. When Lucy reached out to touch Lucy, the Australopithecine Eve, it is the gesture from Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling, and is supposed to represent the spark of intellect inhabiting the human race. There is a great deal of philosophy and high-level physics in the film, but it is not tedious, particularly as it is usually Morgan Freeman speaking. The action-movie part is amazing, including a car-chase more astonishing than any in a Marvel movie.