Review by Cole Groth
Kyra Sedgwick’s directorial debut Space Oddity is precisely what you’d expect. No boundaries will be pushed in this romantic dramedy, but there’s a lot of comfort in the simplicity of a movie like this. Starring Kyle Allen, Kevin Bacon, and Alexandra Shipp, this film plays it too safe and ends up being a somewhat forgettable experience.
This movie tells the story of Alex Mcallister (Allen), a young man planning to visit Mars. He’s joined a mission to leave the planet and is preparing to leave his family behind. His mom (Carrie Preston) and dad (Bacon) are having trouble as they prepare to live on their own, while his sister (Madeline Brewer) is increasingly frustrated at Alex’s decisions. One of the last ends for Alex to tie up is his insurance policy. His agent, Daisy (Shipp), grows attached to him, and the two navigate a romance as Alex plans on leaving.
One of the things that immediately stands out in Space Oddity is how professional it looks. It’s nice to watch a rom-com with great cinematography, editing, and acting. Most of the crew behind this — including cinematographer Alar Kivilo, editor Stefanis Visser, and musicians Travis Bacon and Scott Hedrick — should be commended for their work. Elevating a simple story to look and sound powerful is challenging, and this excellent crew does it.
In another year and with better marketing, I could see this being a solid hit on a streamer or even something that could succeed in the theatrical scene. Sedgwick has had an impressive career in front of the screen, and if she were given a more solid script, I could see her making an incredible sophomore movie.
However, professionalism only goes so far when the core problem is a mediocre script. There are many great moments, but writer Rebecca Banner has created a weak conflict between Alex and his journey to Mars. Fortunately, Banner does an excellent job tackling nihilism, proving that although the script could’ve been polished more, she’s still a talented writer. A great premise is found within this, but the second and third acts are weak and cheapen the experience.
While the script might not be amazing, the cast certainly is. Kyle Allen and Alexandra Shipp are an excellent pairing on screen and have plenty of charisma, which is very important because this is, after all, a film about romance. Kevin Bacon is, as usual, great as Alex’s troubled father. Madeline Brewer and Carrie Preston are also unexpectedly brilliant, with their emotional climaxes being very powerful to watch.
Space Oddity ends up being a bit lost in the wide variety of other coming-of-age romantic dramedies released each year, and while it won’t do enough to stand out to most viewers, this is worth a watch for fans of the genre. Kyra Sedgwick has an emotional eye for directing and brings out great performances against a somewhat weak script. With another rewrite, this would stand out as an excellent film, but this is a pretty good film with excellent production.
Space Oddity releases in theaters and VOD starting March 31.