The Astronaut Farmer parents guide

The Astronaut Farmer Parent Guide

Overall B

Charles Farmer (Billy Bob Thornton) is the ultimate space cowboy. After having to abort his mission plans for an aerospace career, the wannabe astronaut continues to pursue his dreams by building his own rocket in his barn . But when the authorities get wind of his plans, they threaten to ground his operation.

Release date February 22, 2007

Violence B-
Sexual Content A-
Profanity C
Substance Use C+

Why is The Astronaut Farmer rated PG? The MPAA rated The Astronaut Farmer PG thematic material, peril and language

Run Time: 104 minutes

Parent Movie Review

If you think your husband has a hobby that takes up way too much time and money, you’ll be relieved you’re not married to Charles Farmer (Billy Bob Thornton). He’s not fixing up an old Chevy out back in his dilapidated wood barn, but instead is constructing a rocket! The do-it-yourself project is an attempt to fulfill a lifelong ambition that got waylaid when he was discharged years earlier from a military astronaut-training program.

His wife Audrey (Virginia Madsen) has reservations, and not for a window seat. While she is doing her best to support her man’s dreams, she is also worried about the myriad of consequences that follow having a literal space case on her hands. The activity has left their family hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt, and there’s a chance her husband may actually light the engines (assuming he can get the necessary fuel past federal enforcement agents) and put his life in extreme danger.

The hazardous combustibles are only one of many reasons various government agencies are trying to keep this guy firmly planted on the ground. Even his old army buddy (played by an uncredited Bruce Willis) tells him NASA would take a public relations dent if any old farmer could go into orbit. But, like all good movie heroes, resistance only makes Farmer’s resolve stronger. With his 15-year-old son Shepard (Max Thieriot) manning mission control from an Airstream trailer, the space cowboy is prepared to ignite the flames that will either launch him into the heights of celestial celebrity or plunge him to the depths of devastating disaster.

Mark and Michael Polish, the twin brothers who made this film, have become known for breaking rules in traditional cinema, and this title is no exception. An offbeat pacing makes the production feel longer than it is. It’s also difficult to pigeonhole—one moment it’s a comedy, and the next it’s a drama about a woman who is frantically trying to determine if her husband is an inspired visionary or suffering from a mental condition. These tensions mount during an argument over dinner, which results in raised voices, a thrown plate of food, and kids scurrying for cover.

Such serious situations, along with some mild profanities, scatological expletives, and a crude term for sex, create a surprising amount of content concerns when compared to other movies that have received a PG rating over the past few years. Parents who have seen previews for this film may be expecting a whimsical family story. While the plot and some inspiring messages are certainly compelling, there are still many very adult oriented moments that may be good reason to leave preteens at home before blasting off to see this Astronaut Farmer.

Starring Billy Bob Thornton, Virginia Madsen. Running time: 104 minutes. Theatrical release February 22, 2007. Updated

The Astronaut Farmer
Rating & Content Info

Why is The Astronaut Farmer rated PG? The Astronaut Farmer is rated PG by the MPAA thematic material, peril and language

Billy Bob Thornton doesn’t appear in many films you can take the kids to, but even though this one is rated PG, it may still contain concerning content. Parents can expect to find mild profanities, scatological expletives and one use of a crude term for sex. A discussion between two female characters about the size of a man’s rocket is a veiled double entendre. Domestic strife and tension results in an argument between a married couple resulting in a dish being hurled at one person and more being thrown on the floor; however, apologies are offered shortly thereafter. Other violence includes a man threatening people and a brick being thrown through a bank window. An accident involving a vehicle leaves a man in hospital with cuts on his face and broken bones. A couple of male characters drink beer. A father and his three children ride in a pickup truck without seatbelts.

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More parents' guide for The Astronaut Farmer after the break...

The Astronaut Farmer Parents' Guide

At one point Charles Farmer says, “Somewhere along the line we stopped believing that we can do anything. And if we don’t have our dreams we have nothing.” As a society, do you think we are less willing to take risks for science and other worthwhile causes? Was Charles Farmer’s dream worth risking his life for?

A joke in this movie refers to the Bush administration’s inability to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. What other politically motivated remarks in this movie are based on recent real life events? How do comments that relate to reality, along with fake interviews—such as the one with Jay Leno—add to the sense that this movie (which is a complete work of fiction) is presenting a true story?

Home Video

The most recent home video release of The Astronaut Farmer movie is July 9, 2007. Here are some details…

DVD Release Date: 10 July 2007

The Astronaut Farmer crash lands on DVD with a collection of clips/highlights, bloopers and outtakes. You can also have an "out-of-this-world" conversation with NASA astronaut David Scott (part of an audio commentary), learn How to Build a Rocket (a making-of featurette) and watch the movie’s promotional trailer. Audio tracks are available in Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English), with subtitles in English, French and Spanish.

Related home video titles:

In the movie October Skies, a group of “Rocket Boys” also dreams of reaching the stars—even though they live in a small coal mining town. Kitty Hawk: The Wright Brothers’ Journey Of Invention follows the real life adventures of the ultimate do-it-yourselfers.

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