March 31st, 2023
MOVIE: SPACE ODDITY
STARRING: KYLE ALLEN, ALEXANDRA SHIPP, MADELINE BREWER, SIMON HELBERG, CARRIE PRESTON, KEVIN BACON
DIRECTED BY: KYRA SEDGWICK
AMovieGuy.com’s RATING: 3 STARS (Out of 4)
It’s abundantly clear that my way of escape has always been movies. We all have something we go to when we want to get away. For others it might be exercise, or cooking, or video games, but we all find a way to leave the realities of life. Kyra Sedgwick’s Space Oddity is about a young man that has his mind set on going to Mars. The big red planet has been a goal for many great minds but maybe it’s just a way to leave our troubles behind? The metaphor is on full display in Space Oddity– a delightful film about family, romance, and learning to face life on our home planet first.
We meet Alex (Kyle Allen) as he goes for an early morning run as he trains for his big launch to Mars. He lives in upstate New York at his family farm, with his dad Jeff (Kevin Bacon) who hopes to leave the business to his son one day, the friendly farmhand Dimitri (Simon Helberg), his caring mother Jane (Carrie Preston), and his busy public relations guru sister Liz (Madeline Brewer). What is missing and has left a cloud over them all is the recent passing of Alex’s twin-brother. It could be the reason behind his need to leave, but apparently Alex has been recruited by a friend online to go to Mars. It’s not JPL or NASA but somehow, someway, he’s going to get off Earth and start anew.
When local newspapers get wind of Alex’s story the small town starts believing that he might actually be going to Mars. His family thinks it’s just a delusional pipe dream. But when the local insurance company gets hold, there’s hope to help fund the mission, which is how Alex meets Daisy (Alexandra Shipp). In her pursuit to validate the project, a relationship sparks between two lonely people, while the curtain begins to peel back on exactly who is telling Alex he can go to mars, and our want-to-be astronaut starts to realize that he can’t blast away from all his fears in life.
From the first scene, what is evident in Space Oddity is that this is a collaborative film, with a cast and crew on the same page. Sedgwick allows her cast to feel as one, while the screenplay by Rebecca Banner has a natural rhythm. It’s not reinventing the wheel but it is a kind of movie we desperately need. The style reminds me of late-80’s films such as Roxanne or Steel Magnolias, as the cast becomes a community, and the tone is comforting from the start. Allen and Shipp are both absolutely charming, where he is a ball of self doubt and an introvert, while she is energy and grace. It’s all sealed together with the stellar supporting cast, who all bring a unique personality to raise even the slightest of character interactions up.
At times there may not be enough to latch onto with Space Oddity or its mushy nature will turn you off, but its unstoppable charm won me over. Sedgwick is not only impressive behind the camera but aware that there is still a place in our hearts for stories such as this. Filled with genuine emotion and a winning combination of artists, Space Oddity is out of this world. You don’t have to go to Mars to see it. I just hope we see more movies like this here on Earth.
SPACE ODDITY IS PLAYING IN SELECT THEATERS AND ON VOD FRIDAY MARCH 31ST, 2023.
Written by: Leo Brady