Run time: 107 mins
French filmmaker Alice Winocour explores the pressures and struggles experienced by female astronauts while keeping her heroine on the ground.
Sarah (Eva Green) is on the cusp of achieving her childhood dream of going into space. As she tries to balance being a mother and the sole female astronaut on the mission, the brutal preparation required drains her physically while the distance from 8-year-old daughter Stella causes emotional distress. Despite the challenging situation and the sexist criticisms of American colleague Mike (Matt Dillon), Sarah’s unwavering focus and quiet determination keep her going.
Green blends heart and intensity to excel in her most challenging role to date. She and Zélie Boulant (Stella) both bring a level-headedness while Winocour’s smart direction highlights the difficulties astronauts both past and present have faced.
This is a far-cry from the ill-fated Natalie Portman vehicle Lucy in the Sky. Instead, this is a delicate and elegant meditation on motherhood. “There’s no such thing as the perfect astronaut, just like there’s no such thing as the perfect mother” Sarah is told at one point. If anything could sum up Proxima’s core message, it’s this. (Research Chris Coetsee)