Film review: Proxima

PUBLISHED: 09:16 23 July 2020 | UPDATED: 09:16 23 July 2020

Eva Green stars as an astronaut in the movie Proxima

Eva Green stars as an astronaut in the movie Proxima

Archant

Eva Green is a trainee astronaut who spends all her time getting ready for a mission that we never see while resenting the fact that she will miss her daughter in space

Eva Green stars as an astronaut in the movie ProximaEva Green stars as an astronaut in the movie Proxima

Eva Green has been selected to go into space, representing France, as part of an international team that will spend a year in a space station as part of the preparations for an expedition to Mars.

Wow, she must be so excited; she’s dreamed of being an astronaut since she was eight. But she spends most of the film resentful that the period of intense training and preparation she has to go through means she can’t spend any quality time with her daughter (Bolant.)

A film about training for a space mission is inherently flawed. Imagine a portrait of an Olympic swimming champion where we follow them getting up early in the morning to train in the pool, and then getting up early the next morning to do more training, and the moment they get to the Olympics, the gun fires to start the race and the film ends.

You can tell a lot about the state of humanity at any particular time by the films about space exploration. In the 60s, 2001 A Space Odyssey saw us boldly but humbly strike out into the unknown galaxy. It was emotionally cold, but filled with wonder.

In Interstellar Matthew McConaughey bleats on about how going off to into space to save humanity meant missing seeing his daughter grow up.

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How unfair that Saving The Whole Human Race entailed an element of personal sacrifice.

Proxima is meant to be a feminist statement but it struck me as another expression of breeder entitlement, the notion often expressed in film and TV dramas that having children can never be superseded as the most precious human achievement.

At the end of Proxima, faced with spending a year separated from her daughter, Big Spoiler, Green risks the success of the mission and the lives of her fellow crew members by breaking out of pre-launch quarantine, just to keep a promise.

Films like this make the case for the human race just staying home. We are so self-absorbed and riddled with sentimentality we will only show ourselves up in front of the whole universe.

2/5 stars

Directed by Alice Winocour.Starring Eva Green, Zélie Boulant, Matt Dillon, Aleksey Fateev, Lars Eidinger, Sandra Hüller. In French, English, German and Russian with subtitles. In cinemas. Running Time 107 mins

Go to www.halfmanhalfcritic.com for a review of star-studded (Caine, Cook, Moore, Richardson, Mills, Hancock) 60s comedy The Wrong Box, out on blu-ray from Indicator Films.


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