Astronaut review

Aside from their exorbitant wealth, Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk also share a passion for space travel. They’ve faced much criticism for spending billions of dollars on their space ventures, and one could argue that they’re indulging in childish wish fulfillment that ignores the very real problems on this planet. That’s not to disregard the importance of astro-research, nor the appeal of space travel, but sentimentalizing the journey into space feels more escapist than romantic.

Shelagh McLeod’s debut feature Astronaut puts some of that romance back in the stars, but mostly makes a safe landing after an uneventful ride. Richard Dreyfuss plays Angus, a 79-year-old retired civil engineer and recent widower who has dreamt all his life of going into space. Struggling to stay financially afloat ever since his wife, who had dementia, was conned into buying a donkey sanctuary, Angus sells his house. His daughter and grandson want him to move in with them for fear of him getting lonely or falling ill, but his son-in-law would rather put him in a retirement home. Not much of this conflict is shown, because a few minutes into the film, he’s being driven up to his new home at Sundown Valley (if there ever was a euphemism for death…). Read More »