Spaceman Movie Review

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Adam Sandler is a great actor, even if people do not always appreciate his films. His movies are usually comedies, but there have been some serious roles in his career. Johan Renck’s latest project has none of the recognizable comedic style of play that he does and it sees The Sandman turned into the Spaceman, the titular Czech cosmonaut from Chernobyl director Johan Renck’s sci-fi drama. It’s a weird, insular, lovely story about love, loneliness and connection.

Colby Day’s screenplay based on Jaroslav Kalfař’s book Spaceman Of Bohemia is part space sci-fi (Sandler’s astronaut is traveling to Jupiter to investigate a phenomenon called ‘Chopra cloud’) and part relationship drama (Jakub realizes that his marriage to Lenka (Carey Mulligan) disintegrates during her pregnancy). The connection between these two elements is Hanuš (voiced by Paul Dano), a hairy spider that suddenly appears on Jakub’s spaceship. He also offers Jakub some unsolicited relationship advice while studying his memories in a bid to better understand humans.

His first appearance is disturbing; however, after that he remains constant as an adorable presence. When one considers how little humor there is in Spaceman it seems like a gift from above that comes in human form too often though. Laughable moments include Jakub being referred to as a “skinny human” by Hanušbesides Hanuš finding out what chocolate tastes like while retaining Nyquist’s calm and relaxed demeanor throughout with slight vocal inflections when necessary. During the closing credits, you’ll be wishing that she could also be your unofficial therapist.

There are issues Jakub must face head-on for certain. He starts off the film being very unlikable both withdrawn and self-centered at once but through Hanuš’s relentless questioning he begins to understand what really matters and why. As I earlier said, the best scene in the film occurs when these two friends finally share a hug after they’ve bonded somewhat, it is a weird science fiction story told with great technical skill. This is greatly enhanced by Max Richter’s score which is dread-filled for much of the movie & boiling under the surface until that moment of realization comes and then it becomes ethereal and stirring, an exquisite blend of sumptuous synths with swirling strings.

Even though Jakub is not likable, Sandler’s performance is well-restrained making him more sympathetic. On the other hand, while Lenka’s character is underdeveloped she does manage to give her some much-needed interiority and agency through continuous flashbacks as well as scenes set on Earth that serve to reveal how these star-crossed lovers eventually arrived at this point. They are separated by distance but the ending gives hope.

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