Proxima tells the story of a woman astronaut who will spend a year on International Space Station. This film, from French writer and director Alice Winocour, is particularly focused on how this affects the astronaut’s relationship with her daughter. The film is streaming on Hulu.
Proxima stars Eva Green as Sarah. She’s informed suddenly that she will be spending a year in space. Although she’d been training for years, she wasn’t expecting this turn of events. They will fly to the space station in a Russian rocket.
There was no question that Sarah would go. But the film wasn’t about the time in space – it was about the time preparing to separate from her child and, ultimately, from the planet.
Sarah’s eight year old daughter Stella (Zélie Boulant) was a focus for Sarah. Sarah and Stella lived in France. Stella’s father, Thomas (Lars Eidinger), who was a space engineer working on the Mars trip, lived in Germany. The move to put Stella in Germany with her father was rocky at first, but improved quickly.
Young Zélie Boulant was excellent here, and handled the mix of French, German, English, and Russian that everyone spoke with ease.
The men astronauts in the film, including the American Mike (Matt Dillon), had children. They didn’t worry a minute about what it would mean for them to be in space for a year, but Sarah did. Women as both heroes and parents was the theme running through the film.
Some of the training Sarah did with the other astronauts scheduled for this trip took place in the European Space Agency in Cologne, Germany. Three weeks before the flight, the astronauts were taken to Russia. The filmmakers had access to locations in Cologne and Star City, Russia. It gave a realistic tone to the film. Everything we saw was real.
The training scenes were impressive. Especially the underwater training. Eva Green was terrific in these scenes and was clearly as capable as the men.
The two weeks before the flight was meant to be spent in quarantine. Sarah did something as a mother during this period that I found really unprofessional. If it had been found out, she would have been thrown off the flight. It emphasized the difference between what society (and parents) expect from mothers and fathers.
Sarah was given a helper for her daughter. Wendy (Sandra Hüller) was there for psychological support and help for Stella. It wasn’t made clear if the men astronauts got the same support.
In an interview at Seventh Row, director Anna Winocour said, “the idea of the separation from Earth would resonate with the idea of the separation from the little girl. I wanted to confront the endlessness of space but also really tiny things like the intimacy of the mother and daughter relationship.”
When the credits rolled, real women astronauts from around the globe were pictured with their children.
Take a look at the trailer.
Does this film look interesting to you? If you’ve watched it please share your thoughts.