Film Review – Proxima (2020)

Parent child relationship movies are no stranger to the big or small screen. Rarely do we see films focusing on the mother daughter relationships. Alice Winocour‘s Proxima delivers a rare onscreen moment, to share that love and struggle. Eva Green gives an gilt edged performance of a French astronaut in training attempting balance aspirations with family life.

Proxima is an emotionally charged drama that follows Sarah (Green), a French astronaut in training. She’s always wanted to be a astronaut since she was a little girl. Wearing a lampshade over her head, pretending  and now she’s months away from reality.

Sarah is also the only woman on the strenuous training programme. Training that will see take part in a year long training for the ‘Proxima’ Mission. As things intensify (now moved from Germany to Star City Moscow), Sarah is severely tested which put enormous strain on the relationship with her 7 year old Stella (Zelie Boulant). This puts a toll on Sarah especially her health as she gets closer to the  launch day.

The film made it’s UK premiere at this years Glasgow Film Festival (opening gala) with the director in attendance. She stated the one thing about her film is not a ‘space film‘ but an ‘Earth Film‘.Grounded in reality of the relationship amidst the run up to the lift-off. At no time is Sarah’s integrity as a parent is challenged. If anything it’s a mother attempting to say goodbye to her daughter and assure her she will be back.

When we’re introduced to Sarah she was undergoing rigorous training before rushing off. Sarah is like many women worldwide, a working mother. She’s also a single Mum. Proxima is sort of a homage to those working mothers. From the early days of space exploration , the first moon landing  rarely were women mentioned. Recent films like Hidden Figures (2016), behind the scenes many great women made their mark. If you watch the end credits this film , they celebrate the women who were great astronauts. Deserving recognition.

Rarely do we see Eva Green play such a dramatic role. You really do feel her pain, her frustrations as she attempts to balance her family and work life. Her cuts are taking longer to heal, her time with Stella is limited first to phone calls, face time eventually visits.

Sarah also has to deal with fellow astronaut Mike Shannon (Matt Dillon) who is a old fashioned sexist pig. At the press launch even he jokes “It’s good to have a French woman on board…I here they’re good cooks“.

Sarah is attempting the impossible to some people. A woman trying to succeed  in a man’s world (certainly in Mike’s eyes).

Georges Lechaptios cinematography is nothing short of striking. There is some scenes you really feel the beauty, tranquil scenes with no dialogue, just pure silence. Ryuchi Sakamoto‘s score adds to that beauty too.

Proxima may feel a little predestined at times, however behind those few faults there is a well crafted story full of love and emotion. Behind the dedication as a parent, you can achieve your dreams.

★★★1/2


Drama | France, 2019 | 12A | 31st July 2020 (UK) | Picturehouse Entertainment | Dir.Alice Winocour | Eva Green, Zélie Boulant, Matt Dillon, Lars Eidinger, Sandra Hüller