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The Astronaut Farmer

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Caffeinated Clint
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Clint is the creator, editor and maintainer of Moviehole.

An uplifting must-see for anyone who has ever had a dream. “The Astronaut Farmer” is 10,000 pounds of rocket fuel for the soul.


Billy Bob Thorton, Virginia Madsen, Bruce Dern, Tim Blake Nelson, Bruce Willis.

Charlie Farmer (Billy Bob Thorton) had a dream to experience space flight. It seemed as if he might have even achieved that dream if a family emergency hadn’t grounded his efforts at NASA.

A decade later, we find Charlie a devout husband, an uber-father, a second generation rancher, and building a freaking huge rocket ship in his barn. His wife Audi (Virginia Madsen) and father-in-law Hal (Bruce Dern) rally behind Charlie way beyond what local Texan common-sense convention would allow.

What follows is a heartwarming allegory of the figurative and literal ups and downs of a dreamer who dares to achieve the impossible…and a handy reference for all you do-it-yourself space travelers.

“The Astronaut Farmer” is the next in a growing lineage of films penned by the Polish Brothers, twins Michael (who also directs) and Mark (who also plays FBI Agent Mathis) starting with “Twin Falls Idaho”, “Jackpot”, and “Northfork”. Michael directs “Astronaut” with an agenda yet a finesse that eludes many directors entirely. He plays a delicate balance between the reality of bureaucratic mentality, southern convention, and good-ole-boy rocket scientist genius. The lush color palate of the movie helps to paint a fairytale essence without suspending too much disbelief as to trivialize the story.

Excellent performances all around, “The Astronaut Farmer” is the kind of movie you want share with your kids, your family, your friends, heck, even your overachieving dog. Hopefully more filmmakers will take the cue from the Polish Brothers and use the medium to make this world a better, brighter, and more hopeful place.

An uplifting must-see for anyone who has ever had a dream. “The Astronaut Farmer” is 10,000 pounds of rocket fuel for the soul.

Rating :
Reviewer : Clare Bath

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Clint is the creator, editor and maintainer of Moviehole.

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