‘Proxima’ is a touching story of the preparation for space through the eyes of a young girl and her mother (TIFF review)
Most films about space exploration involve a bunch of people on a space ship where weird things start to happen. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s not too original anymore either. Beau Willimon’s series ‘The First’ (2018) with Sean Penn was a welcome change to that, but it was heavy and didn’t always connect.
Alice Winocour’s ‘Proxima’ takes the human aspect of it even further, and to be frank, it’s not a movie about space exploration at all.
It’s a story about a mother, Sarah (Eva Green), who wants to go to space for as long as she can remember. But she’s still a mother of a 7-year-old daughter, Stella, she can’t let go off and has to take care of, especially now with her and the father having separated.
As Sarah has to prepare for her mission in Star City, Russia, she leaves her daughter with her ex-husband. Stella is sad to see her mother go, and she kind of understands. But what can really prepare a child to see her mother go to space for a mission that will, in her mind, last forever.
What’s remarkable about Winocour’s take on the story is how realistic it all feels. The filmmakers went to great lengths to display the whole training of the crew. Like a modern European take on Damien Chazelle’s ‘First Man’ from last year.
But that’s just a background to the real story. The main stars of this film are Eva Green and the young Zélie Boulant as Stella. They really show the powerful bond of a mother and a daughter, without making this something overly dramatic — an easy trap to fall for with a movie like this. What these two have managed to portray here is something that’s truly remarkable and quite rare in film.
‘Proxima’ won’t be the most spectacular film you see about space exploration, but it’s certainly one with the most spectacular heart.
#TIFF19 Public Screenings: Sat Sep 7, 6:15PM / Sun Sep 8, 1:45PM / Fri Sep 13, 12:15PM