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Where no mother has ever been before

Movie buffs hoping to find sci-fi brimming with wild space rides in “Proxima – The Astronaut” will be disappointed. The feature film directed by the French Alice Winocour, who co-wrote the screenplay, is not “Apollo 13” (1995). Not even, despite a big female lead (Eva Green), a touch of “Alien” (1979) with Sigourney Weaver. “Proxima” is more like having developed its own story from the one subordinate clause in which Sandra Bullock declared herself a mother in “Gravity” (2013).

Hollywood star Green (“Casino Royal”, “Dark Shadows”) plays Sarah Loreau, a French astronaut of the European Space Agency (ESA). She gets the chance to fulfill a lifelong dream: she is allowed to participate in the mission “Proxima”, which will take her to the International Space Station for a year. However, Sarah lives an earthly dream: she is the mother of seven-year-old Stella (Zelie Boulant). Sarah is a single nerd. Her ex, “Jedermann” Lars Eidinger, who also works for ESA, genuinely loves the little one, yet alienation shapes their relationship.

The mere fact that no one has yet come up with the idea of making a film about how an astronaut would probably regulate it with the children shows how important this film is in matters of equality. Although Ryan Gosling portrayed Neil Armstrong as a father in “Departure for the Moon” (2018), he also has his unwavering wife Janet (Claire Foy). Sarah first has to convince Thomas. While she is plagued by feelings of guilt and fear of leaving her child for a year, the tough astronaut training pushes her to her limits.

Flying into space is a superhuman job. In “Proxima” he therefore shows in rare clarity how women, especially mothers, who are overloaded with expectations, are treated unequally. Just how their presence in male domains irritates routines and changes moods – usually not in their favor. Green and Eidinger work their way through complex professional and private worlds. One thing weighs even more heavily: Matt Dillon, as a US astronaut, gives the extra masculine antagonist. A character who has long been written like a cliché. Even a capazunder like Dillon can hardly save anything.

“Proxima”: F/D 2019, 107 min., now in cinemas

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Arjun Sethi
Passionate guitarist, gamer and writer. Lives for the perfect review, and scrapes texts until they are razor-sharp.


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