The Astronaut Farmer

2007-10-02 12:33
What it's about:
Billy Bob Thornton plays Charlie Farmer, an astronaut who abruptly left NASA when his father died and never got a chance to travel to space. A wife and three kids later, Farmer has not given up on his dream of orbiting earth and begins building his own rocket, despite his government's threats.

What we thought of it:
The Astronaut Farmer is one of those films you'll either hate because of the improbable plot, or you'll love because of its portrayal of the relentless pursuit of a dream against all odds. Whatever your response to this family drama, you can't deny its charm.

As the government tries to stop Charlie, the bank moves in to foreclose his farm and his neighbors ridicule him, you just can't help buying into his conviction that he will launch. Billy Bob Thornton shines in this role, holding your attention throughout.

At the centre of The Astronaut Farmer is a heart warming family story. The younger children, played by the director's kids, are cute as buttons and Virginia Madsen is fantastic as Farmer's loving and patient wife who keeps the family grounded.

But you'll have to shelve your commonsense for a while because in reality, fathers wouldn't risk losing the roof above their children's heads and endangering their own lives in order to pursue an improbable dream. And civilians don't build their own rockets and fly into space!

The film also feels far too long and the zigzag plot swerves from drama to comedy to social commentary to drama again. The film's personality disorder is exacerbated by a syrupy musical score. Nonetheless, the climax is well worth the (long) wait as Farmer does go into space… this is Hollywood after all!

All in all, nice try, but it doesn't quite fly.

- Eddie Vulani Maluleke
If you've ever believed in the American dream The Astronaut Farmer will only reaffirm your faith that anything is possible, even orbiting earth in your homemade space rocket.

PJ 2007/09/12 10:52 AM
Umm ... Eddie Vulani Maluleke has clearly never heard of Burt Rutan. Catch a wake up, bru!
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