An astronaut receives an invitation of a lifetime. Sarah Loreau (Eva Green) accepts a position in the new space mission called “Proxima”. This mission allows Sarah to go into space along with two other astronauts. Sarah has been waiting for an opportunity, such as this for a long time. It is quite an achievement and honour for Sarah to be part of this mission as previously there have not been many female astronauts like her to receive such an opportunity.
Sarah lives alone with her young daughter, Stella (Zelie Boulant), as she and her ex-partner split up some time ago. Thankfully, Sarah and her ex-partner continue to be on good terms even though they are now separated from each other, and Sarah asks if he can look after her daughter while she prepares for the mission and journeys into space for a full year.
But as Sarah begins preparation for the mission, she deals with multiple challenges moving forward. Her fellow officer, Mike Shannon (Matt Dillon), is provoking towards Sarah upon their first meet and greet. He does this because he feels she is not capable of handling the workload that is yet to come. There are also difficulties with her daughter- the two have always been close, but the relationship is tested when Sarah is going to leave her daughter with her father while she is away. The mission itself is also stressful for Sarah as she is required to conduct multiple tasks and tests to assure her team that she will not fail.
Firstly, I feel this is a unique role for the actress Eva Green. The film itself is rather dramatic, and with several tense moments, I found it pulling on my heartstrings (maybe even more because I’m a parent). Eva Green’s performance is generally stable and believable. It is also interesting that the dialogue is a mixture of both English and subtitled French. As for my concerns about Proxima, there are a couple. As the main character, there are moments where Sarah makes choices that I struggled with. I found them hard to believe, and the consequences that surround her (or her team) seem to be vague in this film. The film also has more than one unnecessary scene which contains nudity. These scenes are not required, nor does it assist with the plot or tension. For whatever reason, this seems to be the norm given the actress and some of her most recent films. After a stable setup, the movie’s second act does feel slower as we witness several training sessions and the other challenges that come from the location of the base. If you’re expecting a film set in space, you will be disappointed. Still, I understand constraints due to the film’s themes, budget and genre, and this is more of a drama film, not so much a sci-fi film.
Overall, Proxima is undoubtedly a touching drama film. Actress Eva Green was a pleasure to see on screen as she not only wrestles with the biggest mission of her life but also tries to handle a touching situation with her family and co-workers. It is shot well, and the soundtrack was also useful. For the most part, the film plods along quite nicely, but feels somewhat repetitive, slowing down in the second act before an influential finishing act.
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Review Written by Peter Walkden