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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Smart and caring individuals, scientists, and researchers tirelessly work to make future space exploration better. With these kinds of programs, experiments, and efforts, NASA will be able to make future space exploration much safer, saner, and more productive. Also, the data gained, by observing humans trying to live and be happy in complete isolation from the rest of the world, will be invaluable to many as more research is needed to explore the psychological effects of enduring such intense isolation for so long.
Positive Role Models
In the name of science, future journeys to Mars, and the psychological data gained from living in isolation for a year, six volunteers sacrifice a lot to contribute to this massive experiment. They work, conduct surveys, take soil samples, explore "lava tubes," and analyze data. Also, they try, admirably, to keep their spirits up throughout intense isolation.
All the 6 participants are White. 3 identify as women, 3 as men.
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Violence & Scariness
Adults argue and appear frustrated at times. Some coverage of the 2015 Paris bombing attacks and a mention of school shootings.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some discussion about NASA's policy regarding intimate relationships during long space exploration journeys. Romantic kissing and cuddling.
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A few instances of "goddamn" and "damn." Someone calls another person "loud face."
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Products & Purchases
NASA is mentioned frequently, and a few times the board game Pandemic is seen being played.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Red Heaven is a documentary about six researchers who participate in the longest space simulation in U.S. history. In order to study how we might better survive in isolation and confinement, these six volunteers (4 scientists, 1 architect, and 1 engineer) spend a year of their lives living on an active volcano in Hawai'i. The entire film is comprised footage of their time living together, conducting research, taking soil samples, filing surveys, playing with "lava tubes," exercising, playing games, growing plants, and generally trying to stay happy, sane, and motivated. Generally, most of the crew slowly become more quiet, independent, and moody. One intimate relationship does emerge between two adults. No strong language except for a few instances of "goddamn." Also, there's no violence except for when the crew hears about the Paris bombing attacks of 2015. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This intimate documentary is compelling because of its scientific novelty and its "day in the life" capturing of 6 adults trying to keep their spirits up while living in isolation for an entire year. Even putting aside their mission, the science, NASA, and future explorations of Mars, Red Heaven would still show a year of 6 adults trying to live together in a tiny space without being able to leave their domicile except for the occasional 2–4-hour jaunt outside.
But this behind-the-scenes reveal is also quite mundane. Understandably, this film is a bit mundane, as it almost should be, because the nature of the mission so directly pits human survival against mendacity. But the viewing suffers a little because of this, as the participants slowly slip deeper and deeper into less social behavior and more independent, by-yourself-living. Indeed, outside of watching the crew do science, there isn't that much scientific content. Mainly, viewers will watch the slow decline in mood of the crew, but not much else happens. When they return home from their journey, some fanfare meets them, but there isn't much satisfaction, because the data generated from the experiment won't be published by NASA until "sometime in 2021" and isn't included in the film or in an epilogue.
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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.