MIDNIGHT SKY (2020) – My rating: 8.7/10

The Midnight Sky is a science fiction film directed by George Clooney, based on the 2016 novel Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton. It’s about a scientist who must venture through the Arctic Circle to warn off a returning spaceship following a global catastrophe. The Midnight Sky was interesting and riveting at times. It was a pleasure to journey through this film with the likes of Mr. Clooney.

Scientist Augustine Lofthouse (George Clooney) has devoted his life work to finding habitable planets where humanity can grow. He meets Jean Sullivan (Sophie Rundle) after giving a presentation at a gala and the two form a romantic relationship. After a pregnancy scare, Jean leaves him because of his obsession with work and inability to bond with other human beings. Several years later, Lofthouse encounters her again and she tells him that they have a daughter, whom he chooses not to meet.

Thirty years later, in February of 2049, nuclear war has wiped out most of the Earth’s population and left the surface contaminated with ionizing radiation. Lofthouse refuses to join the evacuation of his Arctic base, knowing he hasn’t got long to live due to an unidentified serious illness requiring hemodialysis. He is told by Mason Mosley (Tim Russ) that if he misses one session of dialysis, he will die within a week’s time.  Lofthouse searches the Arctic base’s computer system for active crewed-space-missions that he could warn about the situation on Earth but finds only one, the interplanetary craft Æther, returning from an exploration of Jupiter’s habitable moon K-23, which Lofthouse discovered. The crew has lost contact with Earth but does not know why. Lofthouse must warn them but finds his antenna is too weak to make contact.

Additionally, Lofthouse finds he is experiencing mental blackouts. After a kitchen fire, he finds a young girl hiding in the corner who doesn’t speak. He tries to contact any of the other evacuees to get someone to pick her up, but they are all out of range. The girl communicates by drawing and lets him know her name is Iris (Caoilinn Springall) by drawing a picture of an Iris flower. After a time he grows fond of Iris and takes her with him on a snowmobile in sub-zero weather to the Lake Hazen weather station farther north, which has a larger, more powerful antenna. In a horrific scene, while traveling there, he loses his dialysis equipment and the snowmobile shortening his life expectancy considerably. Now they have to walk the rest of the way in the snow with freezing high winds for several days.  After arriving at the base, he manages to make contact with Æther, but the crew is interrupted by an asteroid field that damages the ship’s radar and communication systems. To fix the damage, pregnant mission specialist Sully (Felicity Jones) and her partner, Commander Gordon Adewole (David Oyelowo), conduct a spacewalk with their flight engineer Maya (Tiffany Boone). They fix the comms and radar but are caught in the middle of a second asteroid strike

The Midnight Sky is truly a riveting story that explores a mission of hope, love, and determination.  I loved the way each scene came together and told its own portion of the story.  Also, the visual and special effects were outstanding. The Midnight Sky mostly focused on Lofthouse, Iris, and the Æther crew that also consisted of the pilot Tom Mitchell (Kyle Chandler) and Specialist Sanchez (Demián Bichir) — the acting was absolutely brilliant.  Kudos to George Clooney for a job well done on all fronts. Finally, a different kind of story surrounded with mystery and intense possibilities.  You will be awed at how everything works out in the end. I urge everyone to see The Midnight Sky, it’s worth the watch. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 51% of 241 reviews of the film were positive, with an average rating of 5.8/10. The website’s critic’s consensus states, “The Midnight Sky lacks the dramatic heft to match its narrative scale, but its flaws are often balanced by thoughtful themes and a poignant performance from director-star George Clooney.


[THE MIDNIGHT SKY is Oscar-nominated at the 93rd Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects — Totaling 1 Nomination]


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