Astronaut Parent Guide
A down to earth story about reaching for the stars and chasing impossible dreams.
Parent Movie Review
Who hasn’t dreamt of “slipping the surly bonds of earth” and exploring the vast expanse of space? Angus Stewart (Richard Dreyfuss) certainly did, even applying (unsuccessfully) to be a mission specialist on NASA space flights. But now, the 75-year-old civil engineer is struggling with an unhappy, earth-bound retirement. His late wife, while suffering from dementia, purchased a donkey sanctuary, which has saddled Angus with both donkeys and debt. He is now living with his daughter, Molly (Krista Bridges) while they try to sell his house. Molly and grandson Barney (Richie Lawrence) want Angus to stay with them but son-in-law Jim (Lyriq Bent) believes Angus should live in a seniors’ home. Jim prevails, and Angus is carted off to Sundown Valley.
Sundown Valley will produce nightmares in every viewer over fifty. It’s not rundown and the staff aren’t abusive, but the blandness of daily life, the patronizing attitude of the staff, only increase Angus’ quiet desperation. When he decides to make one last bid to go into outer space, viewers will wonder if Angus is reaching for the stars or simply trying to escape his disappointing reality.
Angus’ long shot opportunity to soar into space is made possible by a billionaire (Colm Feore) whose company is racing to launch the first private sector space flight. To whip up enthusiasm for the venture, he announces an online lottery: twelve lucky winners will be winnowed down to one lucky astronaut. At the last minute, Angus shaves ten years off his age, lies about his heart condition, and clicks “Enter”.
Parents will be relieved to hear that Angus’ dishonesty is the biggest issue in the movie and it’s one that can lead to discussions with teens about honesty, ethics, and morality. The movie is free of violence, sexual content, and profanity. There are brief scenes of characters smoking, a scene of adults drinking wine, and one scene where Angus is drinking hard liquor out of the bottle and is clearly inebriated. Having been produced in Canada, Astronaut does not have a rating from the MPAA, but it fits comfortably into a PG rating. It is safe for viewing by older children, but they are unlikely to be interested in the story.
Minor content issues aside, Astronaut is filled with positive and uplifting messages. Viewers concerned about ageism in movies will be pleased to find a film where a senior is intelligent, capable, skilled, and able to pass on his wisdom and experience. Astronaut also vividly demonstrates the power of family bonds – between father and daughter, husband and wife, and grandfather and grandchild. The relationship between Angus and Barney is particularly sweet and will warm the hearts of anyone who has enjoyed a special grandparent/grandchild connection. And this movie celebrates our lifelong capacity to dream and to grow and struggle and stretch to achieve that dream. As Robert Browning wrote, “A man’s reach should exceed his grasp, Or what’s a heaven for?”Directed by helagh McLeod. Starring Richard Dreyfuss, Lyriq Bent, and Colm Feore.. Running time: 97 minutes. Theatrical release July 26, 2019. Updated September 30, 2019
Watch the trailer for Astronaut
Rating & Content Info
Violence: None noted.
Sexual Content: None noted.
Profanity: None noted.
Alcohol / Drug Use: A character is shown smoking. Adults drink wine with dinner. A main character drinks hard liquor straight from the bottle and has obviously had too much to drink.
Page last updated September 30, 2019
Astronaut Parents' Guide
Ever wondered what it’s really like to go to outer space? Click here to read what astronauts have to say about their experiences.
Would you go to space if you had the chance? Why or why not?
Do you have a bucket list? What’s on it? If you don’t have one, do you want to create one?
Loved this movie? Try these books…
If you’ve ever wondered about the little details of life in space, you will want to read Mary Roach’s non-fiction book, Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void. Note: this book contains some profanity and non-explicit discussions of sexuality so is best for teens.
The idea of a billionaire funding space flight isn’t as far-fetched as you might think. In The Space Barons: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and the Quest to Colonize the Cosmos, Christian Davenport introduces readers to entrepreneurs who are seeking the rewards that could come from private sector space travel.
Do you feel a bit stale? Want a bucket list to get excited about? Take a look at Make Your Own Bucket List: How to Design Yours Before You Kick It by Andrew Gall.
If your bucket list includes travel – but not into outer space – you can find inspiration in National Geographic’s Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 of the World’s Greatest Trips.
Related home video titles:
October Sky is the story of a teenager who wants to build rockets. But his small town parents don’t understand his dreams.
Not all space missions go as planned. In Apollo 13, an explosion forces a change in plans.
With age comes a desire to achieve long-held dreams – like going to space – before kicking the bucket. The Bucket List follows the adventures of two aging cancer patients who want to spend what’s left of their lives achieving their dreams.