A NASA astronaut (Thornton), forced to retire years earlier so he could save his family farm, has never given up his dream of space travel and looks to build his own rocket, despite the government's threats to stop him.
Texan Charles Farmer left the Air Force as a young man to save the family ranch when his dad died. Like most American ranchers, he owes his bank. Unlike most, he's an astrophysicist with a rocket in his barn - one he's built and wants to take into space. It's his dream. The FBI puts him under surveillance when he tries to buy rocket fuel; the FAA stalls him when he files a flight plan - it's post-9/11, after all. His wife is angry when she finds out their bank is initiating foreclosure. Charlie fears failure and decides, precipitously, to launch. Are twenty-first century American dreams just a sign of insanity? Are those who believe in dreamers only fools? Written by
It's not a comedy, I swear, but somehow it still works.
When I first heard there was a movie in which my buddy Billy Bob builds a rocket in his barn, I thought for sure it must be a comedy or some sort of spoof or slapstick. Then I saw the trailer, which portrayed the film as serious drama. Given this background, I must say, I had my doubts when I went to an advanced screening in Salt Lake City last night. I need not have worried. The movie was in fact serious (with some great laughs on the aside) and yet it still worked.
Admittedly, the follow-your-dreams-no-matter-what genre has been around since the dawn of time, but Astronaut Farmer manages to stand out nonetheless. The timeless truths are all the more poignant set against the backdrop of such an impossible dream. The problems Charlie Farmer confronts are in many ways similar to problems we all face. Themes of love, sacrifice, and faith make this movie easy to relate to. It is a metaphor of being true to yourself and following your dreams, not just another sappy you-can-do-anything-you-set-your-mind-to knockoff. I recommend it to anyone who has ever wanted something out of life that seemed out of reach or that others scoffed at.
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