© Jets Filmverleih/24 Bilder

Astronaut
Canada 2019

Opening 15 Oct 2020

Directed by: Shelagh McLeod
Writing credits: Shelagh McLeod, Carolyn Saunders
Principal actors: Richard Dreyfuss, Lyriq Bent, Krista Bridges, Colm Feore, Richie Lawrence

Angus (Richard Dreyfuss) is a 75-year-old retired highway construction engineer. He lives with his daughter Molly (Krista Bridges), her husband Jim (Lyriq Bent) and their son Barney (Richie Lawrence). Even in his seventies, Angus still dreams of flying into space like an astronaut. Millionaire Marcus Brown (Colm Feore) created the Ventura Spaceship, which he will send up into the atmosphere. He stages a contest to choose a passenger from 12 possible candidates. Naturally, Angus is on top of the game, seriously supported by his grandson Barney (Richie Lawrence) who helps him set up a telescope to view a rare comet. Will he be selected?

There are secondary topics, such as Angus suffering health problems, moving into a home for senior citizens, or befriending Len, who sits silently in his wheelchair. The construction of the airplane runway attracts Angus’ professional attention. Molly has opinions; Jim loses his job.

Naturally. it’s a pleasure to follow Richard Dreyfuss over his long film career, going way back to 1967. Remember American Graffiti, from 1973? However, my favorite character was grandson Barney, who is always cheerful, optimistic, and encouraging. He brought personality into a film which often seemed repetitious, even trite. I was happy that Molly and Jim shared a mixed-race marriage, something which should be a permanent part of our society and reflected in films. Director Sehlagh McLeod said that she came upon the idea for the film after visiting her own mother in an old folks’ home. She believes that “seniors are too often forgotten, humiliated, and forced into silence,” something which “does not reflect their real selves.” (Becky Tan)

 
 
 
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