A fascinating film that explores work, motherhood, space, love and time – but in a quiet way, driven by Eva Green’s powerful central performance.
Alice Winocour’s superb film follows Anna (Eva Green), a French astronaut who achieves her life’s ambition when she is selected to join a space mission. She must undergo rigorous training to prepare for a year in space. She is one of only a few women to have made this leap and we see the sexism that she faces, even within her own crew, let alone from the baying press. But she must also reconcile to the fact that she will not see her young daughter for a year, and how hard that will be for both of them. Stella will stay with her father, from whom Anna is separated although they remain on good terms.
The film ends as the mission launches into space. This is not a film like Gravity about the time spent away from Earth. Instead it poignantly and intelligently explores the decisions which every working parent must make – and, of course, in our gendered society, particularly the decisions made by working mothers. This is a film about work, and making hard decisions and working through the goodbye. It also recognises the danger inherent in a space mission – the training is tough, the goodbyes recognise that this could be farewell forever.
This is a rigorous, moving and thoughtful film which makes us reflect on family ties, humanity, love and hard work. You will be caught up in the minutiae of the daily training the astronauts undergo, how they prepare for life without gravity but with much danger, but also the depth of human emotion we can all share.
Proxima is available to stream on Netflix.