By Tara McNamara,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Dramedy about dreams and depression has drunk sex, language.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
With themes of family, resilience, and purpose, the story is an exploration of how far loved ones should or shouldn't go to support someone during a difficult time. Also, purposeful work can help you move through loss. Raises the alarm about the dangers of climate change.
Positive Role Models
Both dad Jeff and son Alex are hardworking people who put both physical sweat and the aim of attaining and applying knowledge into careers they're passionate about. Sister Liz may be preoccupied with her own career, but she shows up to protect her family. Daisy is a good friend who doesn't allow others to treat her with disrespect.
Story is about a family of White farmers who live in a small country town. Main character Alex (Kyle Allen), who has depression, gets romantically involved with a smart, confident Black woman, Daisy (biracial actor Alexandra Shipp), who was a competitive swimmer. Black characters in supporting cast include the owner of an insurance agency, a banker, a real estate investor, and a female doctor.
Inclusion information: Black actors
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Violence & Scariness
Verbal description and visual imagining of how climate change is destroying the world. Characters are impacted by grief and loss.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Romantic subplot. A flirtatious couple get drunk over dinner and kiss; she leads him to her bed, and the scene cuts to them waking up the next morning in their underwear, under the covers. Same couple strips down to very conservative underwear to go for a dip.
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Language includes: "ass," "a--hole," "bulls--t," "butt," "dammit," "s--t," "what the hell," and one use of "f--ked up."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Couple on a first date play a kind of drinking game and get drunk, which leads to sex.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Space Oddity is a romantic dramedy with the message that purposeful work can help you move through loss. Main character Alex (Kyle Allen) is drawn out of depression by a job opportunity that his family thinks is a hoax. Do they support his passion and goals, or should they squelch the dream that they believe can't possibly be real? Young adults get drunk and have sex, although younger viewers may not put that together because it looks like they're drinking cola, they don't behave too drunkenly, and the camera cuts from them kissing on the bed to the next morning, when he gets out of the bed in his underwear while she sleeps in a tank top (innocent minds may think they just had a sleepover). There's verbal description and visual imagining of how climate change is destroying the world. Strong language includes "a--hole," "s--t," and one use of "f--ked up." The film marks the feature directorial debut of Kyra Sedgwick and co-stars her husband, Kevin Bacon.
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What's the Story?
Alex McAllister (Kyle Allen) is his rural town's SPACE ODDITY: He's selected by an independent and mysterious aerospace organization to be part of the crew for a one-way mission to Mars. While the townspeople crack jokes at his expense and his family (Kevin Bacon, Carrie Preston, Madeline Brewer) approaches his new job with skepticism -- even though it has helped draw him out of a crippling depression -- Daisy (Alexandra Shipp), the insurance agent who's looking into offering him coverage, wholly believes in Alex. What do you do when you meet the perfect girl just as you're leaving the planet?
Is It Any Good?
Kyra Sedgwick's amiable feature directing debut doesn't soar into space, but it does lift above the atmosphere. Space Oddity is enough to keep you looking out the window, if not quite enough to make you sure it was worth your while. Her gentle approach is competent, but it misses the mark in casting. Allen is talented and expressive, and he gives an empathetic performance. But the movie makes it clear that Alex is supposed to be the local "weird kid," someone the whole town has seen grow up and considers an oddball. However, other than whole-heartedly pursuing a far-fetched career scheme, there's nothing unusual or "weird" about Alex. He's conventionally attractive and only a little awkward, so when Daisy takes a romantic interest in him, it's not like it's because she immediately sees him for the person that he is. He's a cutie and they appear to be the only 21-year-olds in the entire town: Of course they're going to get together!
This matters because why tell this story -- why create a character who doesn't fit in the small town he can't escape -- if not to create a touchstone of relatability for viewers? This may make Space Oddity better suited for parents, who will connect with the idea that parents are ground control for kids who seem to be having a failure to launch. Still, while Alex's ambition is out of this world, the story and tone are grounded as the movie contrasts Alex's family's love and support with Daisy's.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about what kind of movie Space Oddity is. Is it a drama? A comedy? A romance? Who's the target audience? How can you tell?
What do you think is a good way to encourage and support someone who's going through a tough time? What would you do if you were Alex's family: Would you indulge him because it makes him happy, or would you be the voice of reason, even if that contributes to his depression?
The movie has a scene that raises the alarm about the dangers of climate change. What can we do to help the planet thrive and survive?
Why do you think so many science fiction movies take place in space? Do you consider Space Oddity a sci-fi film?
What is "purpose," and how does it motivate people to get up in the morning and feel excited to take on the day? What are ways to find your purpose?
- In theaters: March 31, 2023
- On DVD or streaming: March 31, 2023
- Cast: Kyle Allen, Alexandra Shipp, Kevin Bacon
- Director: Kyra Sedgwick
- Inclusion Information: Black actors
- Studio: Samuel Goldwyn Films
- Genre: Romance
- Topics: STEM, Brothers and Sisters, Space and Aliens
- Run time: 92 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: some strong language, suggestive material and thematic elements
- Last updated: April 7, 2023
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