The Astronaut Farmer
Reviewed by: Patty Moliterno
Better than Average
Drama, Comedy, Family
1 hr. 44 min.
Year of Release:
February 23, 2007 (wide)
“If we don’t have our dreams, we have nothing.”
Charlie Farmer (Billy Bob Thornton) has a dream. He dreams of going into outer space. Dinner with the Farmer family involves discussing that dream, playing word games about it, and encouraging him to keep that dream alive. His wife, Audie (Virginia Madsen), believes in him. His children believe in him. But is believing in him enough for him to succeed.
Charlie was a pilot in the NASA program until his father’s death brings him home to the family farm. While Charlie cares for the farm, he builds a rocket in his barn. Building a rocket takes money, and Charlie is on the brink of financial disaster. He has about 30 days to build and fly his rocket before the bank takes his farm, and he has FBI, FAA, and NASA officials trying to keep him from flying. Can he succeed?
VIOLENCE: There was mild violence in this movie. In one scene, Charlie throws a brick through the bank window. He has a fight with his wife and throws space food around the kitchen and in response, Audie breaks some plates. He verbally threatens the bank appraiser. A car is chased by police, FBI, and other government officials, and officers pull their weapons on the driver. At one point, Charlie is seriously injured. While being driven to the hospital, Charlie’s bloody face is shown. There are a few references to suicide, and Charlie talks about his father killing himself. Audie’s father is found dead in bed.
LANGUAGE: There is one “Oh my God” in the film. There are a dozen or more times that bad language is used which includes: h-ll, d—n, a--, sh--, and son-of-a-b—ch. There is a “spanking paddle” with the word s-h-i-t. Charlie is sent to the school nurse for a psychological evaluation and when he says she told him in high school she would go to the moon with him, she responds “I thought that was about getting laid”. Someone says “science isn’t sexy”.
OTHER OBJECTIONABLE CONTENT: There is no nudity in the film. There is one scene where Charlie is in bed with his wife and they kiss and touch. No parts are shown.
There are several scenes where adults are seen holding beers or drinking, but there is no drunkenness. Charlie goes into a bar to speak with a man about rocket fuel. Audie makes a comment about the planets not being aligned.
Some people who see this movie might object to Charlie defying the government and point to scripture to be obedient to the rulers. The other viewpoint can argue that without disobedience toward the government, America would not be a nation, and we would still have slavery. So I will avoid a lengthy discourse on the government, the Patriot Act, and civil disobedience.
There are some very good scenes that make some wonderful teachable moments. The morning after Charlie and Audie fight, she is getting the kids in the car and he thinks she is leaving. She says she is going to church because her and the kids have to learn something about forgiveness. From this you can talk to your children about forgiving and being forgiven. Jesus Christ offers us true and lasting forgiveness for our sins.
This movie is about believing in yourself and your dreams. It is about perseverance. You can do anything you put your mind to. Charlie’s family believes in him. His children adore him and he is a great dad. His son, Shephard (Max Thieriot), is his mission control. His daughters are his cheerleaders. Charlie believes in his family. While everyone says his son is too young to be his mission control because his is only 15, Charlie believes in him.
Before going to see this movie, I had preconceived notions about what I would think of it. I don’t like Billy Bob, the movie itself looked cheesy, and my family kept complaining about going to see it. I was pleasantly surprised at my feelings when I left the movie, and while I enjoyed this movie, I have to warn readers of the language in this movie. Although, some would not call it a “bad” movie, as far as language goes, there is quite a lot of it. So although I would like to recommend this movie, I would have to do so hesitantly.
Violence: Mild / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: None
Producer’s synopsis: “Growing up, Charles Farmer (Billy Bob Thornton) had only one goal: to be an astronaut. Farmer was a natural for NASA’s astronaut training program and was well on his way when a family situation forced him to drop out and return home—effectively ending his career. But Farmer was not a man to let anything stand in the way of his dream—space travel. Sharing his vision are his wife Audie (Virginia Madsen), their children and father-in-law Hal (Bruce Dern), they were inspired as a family with a common purpose. But Farmer’s efforts catches the attention of the FBI… and subsequently the media, who encamp in droves outside his gate, speculating wildly about this “space cowboy” and his homemade rocket. Farmer finds himself depicted on TV screens worldwide as a renegade hero, inspiring an outpouring of popular support, while simultaneously drawing heavy scrutiny and surveillance from the government, who see him as a potential risk to civilian safety.