Come away from the haunting, dad-issue-laden sci-fi drama of Ad Astra looking for something else in that vein? Well, say hi to Proxima, where the daddy issues are now mummy issues.
To be fair to Alice Winocour’s new movie — which just recently premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, ahead of a wider release in France this November — there are plenty more things that push Proxima away from Ad Astra’s immediate orbit. For one, it’s a little more rooted in hard science than it is science-fictional, setting itself in much nearer present than the relatively near future of James Grey’s new space-and-sadness epic. There’s also a lot more French. That’s a big difference!
But really, what Proxima and Ad Astra share is a focus on the human, psychological trauma space exploration can have on people and relationships, rather than the exploration itself, even if their settings split on a more fictional bent. Proxima sees Eva Green’s character, European Space Agency astronaut Sarah, prepare for a year-long mission aboard the International Space Station across the ESA’s various training facilities (real-life facilities Winocour was given access to while making the film).
While in training, Sarah struggles to balance the rigorous demands her mission places on her body and psyche with sexist co-workers, a fractured relationship with her ex-husband (Lars Eidinger), and an increasingly fraught bond with her young daughter, Stella (Zélie Boulant), as the young girl tries to reconcile her mother’s impending absence. There may not be as many lavish shots of space to go around here, but there’s plenty of compelling, emotional drama on display.
Proxima is set for a French release on November 27, and a release in the UK on April 17, 2020. Details about an Australian theatrical release have not yet been announced.