Proxima (2019) – Review

When French astronaut Sarah Loreau (Eva Green) receives the news that she will soon be involved in a year-long space exploration mission called Proxima, the laborious training at the European Space Agency in Cologne begins, aswell as the agonising personal decisions that have to be made, particularly those that involve her eight-year-old daughter, Stella (Zelie Boulant). A really effective and at times emotional drama that is worth every bit of the modest one-hundred and seven-minute runtime.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Director: Alice Winocour
Writers: Alice Winocour, Jean-Stéphane Bron
Starring: Eva Green, Matt Dillon, Zelie Boulant

It seems like an absolute eternity since I’ve been able to visit my local Cineworld to catch one of the latest cinematic releases, but it was great to finally be back after the recent lockdown thrust upon us all over the last few months. With only a handful of people in a screen capable of holding two-hundred plus, it was time to settle down and approach Proxima with an open mind. Having been released in most countries many months ago, it’s worth noting that this flick has only just come to the big screens in the United Kingdom.

One thing that stood out, would have to be the fact that some people will more than likely be disappointed with the fact that this movie explores the subject of space travel, but never really pulls the trigger when it comes to any kind of action or exploration beyond our own planet at all. The entire movie remains on Earth in fact and focuses primarily on the gruelling training and experience that each astronaut requires, along with the complex decisions regarding their relationships with family members.

If, however, you’re the type of person that enjoys a good, hard hitting drama, then Proxima is for sure, a movie you’ll be able to enjoy. The filmmakers managed to successful convey a range of emotions, but mainly focused and highlighted the struggle of being a loving and caring parent, while also trying to accomplish personal, lifelong career aspirations. Consequently, very little actually happened in a traditional sense, but as mentioned, this was more of a down to earth, realistic portrayal of an astronaut and the agonising decisions that had to be made.

Rather uniquely, and something that impressed me, was the use of a multitude of languages spoken throughout – large portions of the script were in English or French, while some German and Russian was spoken too. In terms of the filming, there were also various locations used, all of which were extremely easy on the eye and felt real and authentic from start to finish. France, Germany, Russia and even Kazakhstan were countries explored in the flick.

In terms of acting performances, Eva Green does brilliantly as the lead character in this one. She successfully portrayed a strong minded, intelligent, and equally as strong-minded female astronaut, while Matt Dillon was also effective in his support role as an American space traveller that was scheduled to be involved in the mission too. Elsewhere, the young Zelie Boulant portrayed the daughter, Stella Loreau.

All in all, Proxima may not be for everyone, but it was a really powerful and thought-provoking movie that makes you as a viewer, step back and assess your own relationship with the family members close to you. It’s also worth noting that when the film concluded and the credits rolled, the filmmakers highlighted several real female astronauts that have gone through the same experience that this movie was depicting – a nice touch to end on.

“You know this is no place for a kid… You’re going to have to cut the cord…”

Mike Shannon – Proxima

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