THE ASTRONAUT FARMER
Giving Flight to Dreams
Release Date: February 02, 2007
Audience: All ages
Runtime: 104 minutes
Distributor: Warner Bros.
Director: Michael Polish
Executive Producer: Geyer Kosinski and Robert Benjamin
Writer: Mark Polish and Michael Polish
Address Comments To:Barry M. Meyer, Chairman/CEO
Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
4000 Warner Blvd.
Burbank, CA 91522-0001
Phone: (818) 954-6000
There are times when moviegoers should just let themselves be entertained by stories full of improbabilities (even impossibilities). This is one of those times. It's just fun to root for the farmer and his family against the FBI, the FAA, Family and Children’s Services and all the government agencies that want to say that ordinary people cannot dream and do big things. Granted there are some slow moments and Billy Bob Thornton acts like a brick at times, but, like watching E.T., most viewers will like watching the little guys have their day.
The movie opens with Charles Farmer (Billy Bob Thornton) rounding up a stray calf while riding his horse and wearing an astronaut suit, complete with space helmet. He returns to his farm to enjoy breakfast with his wife, Audie (Virginia Madsen), and children. In his barn, Charles has built a huge rocket with his son, Shepherd (Max Thieriot). Charles is an Air Force veteran with some astronaut training. His dream is to ride his rocket into space, orbit the earth and land in his own back yard.
Charles' relationship with his neighbors is good. Even if many local residents consider him crazy for wanting to build and fly a rocket, everyone seems to admire his work ethic, his parenting skills and his general personality. As he nears completion of his rocket, he runs out of funds, and the local bank threatens to foreclose on the farm. Trying to speed up the launch date, he begins looking for rocket fuel. This brings down the FBI, the FAA and a host of concerned government agents, including an old friend from his astronaut training days (played by Bruce Willis).
Charles’ lawyer, in an effort to force the government to let him launch, alerts the media. This results in a huge temporary population increase and video cameras everywhere. Charles becomes fodder for comedians, editorial writers, tabloid covers, and video press from around the world. Not all of them are kind and supportive.
There are many warm moments, funny moments and dramatic moments in ASTRONAUT FARMER as Charles pursues his dream, with his family's help. There are a few moderate obscenities and one-half of a strong profanity (half of Jesus’ name is used in vain). A brick is thrown through a bank window and some plates are broken in a family argument, but no violence is directed at people. There is no sex, nudity, drug or alcohol use, however (unless some alcohol was used in rocket fuel).
THE ASTRONAUT FARMER has a strong Christian worldview with very strong moral elements and very strong capitalist elements that support free enterprise, American self-reliance, forgiveness, churchgoing, and the family working together. The biggest concern about the movie is that it glorifies pursuing your dream without overtly seeking the will of God first. God has a purpose for each of us, and it is good. Often it is big and requires great faith and perseverance to pursue, but if we come up with dreams strictly on our own we can take destructive paths that lead to emptiness and disappointment (even if wealth and fame are achieved). If we surrender our lives to God, He can give us exciting, healthy dreams to pursue. Parents who take their children to see THE ASTRONAUT FARMER should sit down with their children and discuss the difference between pursuing God’s will or personal dreams. God can call people to make rockets, be astronauts or be baseball stars. Let's pray he calls more people to make movies that truly glorify Him even as they entertain.
There are many warm moments, funny moments and dramatic moments in ASTRONAUT FARMER as Charles pursues his dream, with his family's help. It's fun to root for Charles and his family against all the government agencies and pencil pushers who want to tell regular folk what to do. The movie has a strong Christian worldview with a very strong moral outlook supporting churchgoing, capitalism and American self-reliance. The biggest concerns are some brief foul language and the fact that the movie glorifies pursuing your dream without overtly seeking the will of God first.