March 31, 2023
Kyle Allen, Alexandra Shipp, Madeline Brewer, Carrie Preston, Christopher Jackson, Andrew Polk, Arden Myrin, Simon Helberg, Kevin Bacon
Planets and lives collide in this Kyra Sedgwick-directed feature. Alex (Kyle Allen) longs to travel to outer space and finally gets the opportunity to do so thanks to a privately-funded Mars colonization program. In the midst of his rigorous preparation, he meets Daisy (Alexandra Shipp), the new girl in town who’s trying to start over. The two wayward souls connect in unexpected ways, both of them harboring secrets that they’re desperately trying to overcome. However, when questions about the legitimacy of the program and the future of his parents’ flower farm begin to crop up, Alex finds himself questioning whether it’s easier to confront his past or fly away into the stars. In a time where nihilism about the Earth’s future is rampant, it can be difficult to find optimism about what comes next. However, Space Oddity is a heartwarming film that encourages living life to the fullest with those you love the most.
Written By Darren
Rating 3.5 out of 5
Space Oddity is a splendid romance that truly comes to life thanks to its talented cast and the romantic chemistry of its two leads, resulting in an endearing film that will simultaneously warm your heart while moving you with its beautiful story.
Independent films have been on a roll in 2023, and Space Oddity continues that trend with a beautiful romance with elements of a family drama and space exploration. It’s an endearing story of first love, overcoming grief and finding one’s place in the world that is able to connect with audiences on the most human level possible. The result: an absolutely endearing film that sweeps you up in the characters and emotion, bound to leave you with a smile on your face and in a great mood.
Space Oddity tells the story of Alex, a young man who is training to achieve his dream: traveling to and living on Mars. Alex is enrolled in the Mission Mars program, a private company sending humans to Mars to set up a colony and help continue the human race. But when he meets Daisy, the young and beautiful insurance agent who has just moved to his small town, Alex begins to develop feelings and examine what he wants in life: fulfilling his dream of going into space, or facing his past and following his heart.
The romance genre is no stranger to independent filmmaking, but what separates Space Oddity from many other romances is the addition of space exploration to the family drama at play that is mixed into the main romance. Our main character Alex is training to go to Mars, building equipment and technology to use during his time on Mars, and preparing to say goodbye to Earth and his family forever. When we first meet Alex, we find out early from his family that there is a reason why he is doing this, but the film takes its time revealing the entire truth. We get hints as to what the cause is, as it has to do with the death of his brother that the family is still struggling to come to terms with, but we are left in the dark as to how he actually passed away. This works to create some mystery around Alex as a character while you watch him fall for Daisy, helping to build the family drama that eventually boils over in the final act when Alex has to truly evaluate his life and decide what is most important to him. The story goes as you expect it to, there are not any true surprises along the way, but it is handled with care and compassion throughout which makes the film a truly enjoyable watch.
There is no question that the film’s biggest asset is its cast, all of whom give very good performances. Leading the film as Alex is Kyle Allen, and he makes for a charming lead. Allen has had supporting roles in films such as Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story and The Greatest Beer Run Ever, and led Amazon Prime’s The Map of Tiny Perfect Things opposite Kathryn Newton, and he continues to show a natural charisma on screen in this film. Allen captures all the nuances to Alex’s personality, balancing the young man trying to hide from the world and his grief with an individual experiencing love for the first time, creating a truly delightful character that you can’t help but to fall in love with and root for to find his way in life. Opposite Allen as Daisy is the ever talented Alexandra Shipp who is marvelous in the role. Every second she is on screen, Shipp brings a tender energy that captures the love between her character and Alex, while also bringing to life a loving and independent young woman that makes it easy to see why Alex is falling for her. As a romantic pairing, Allen and Shipp make it look incredibly easy. There is a playful energy between them that is endearing, helping to create that first serious and passionate love with an ease that makes it feel like you are not watching two performances, but two individuals falling in love.
Allen and Shipp are the focus of the film, but they are supported by an equally as talented supporting cast. Madeline Brewer is good as Alex’s sister Liz, trying to financially save her family’s business and help keep her family together. Kevin Bacon and Carrie Preston are the standouts of the supporting cast as Alex’s parents, with Bacon trying to hold his family together with a strong and stoic performance, while Preston’s infectious energy is used to hide her character’s true grief as she throws herself into Alex’s life and his recovery. The only weak link is Simon Helberg as Dimitri, mainly due to his bad accent, that if you look past the accent Helberg gives a decent performance. Though, his character adds very little to the film, so when combined with the accent, makes Helberg come across as a cheap gimmick and ultimately wastes his talents as a comedic actor.
Everything comes together wonderfully under the careful and talented direction of Kyra Sedgwick in her feature film directorial debut, utilizing every moment of the film to propel the character arcs and story forward, but ensuring that the film never overstays its welcome. Balancing romance, space exploration, family drama and past trauma, Space Oddity weaves a moving and truly beautiful story of first love and finding your place in the world, that with the charming, great lead performances of and romantic chemistry between Kyle Allen and Alexandra Shipp, makes for a delightful romance that is an entertaining watch from start to finish.