The Astronaut Farmer

  • Review Date: July 9, 2007
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2007
  • Running Time: 104 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Billy Bob dreams of space in uneven fantasy drama.
  • Review Date: July 9, 2007
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2007
  • Running Time: 104 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Charlie is dedicated to his dream of spaceflight, and his family supports him, even when his obsession threatens their financial well-being; federal agents look menacing.

Violence & scariness

Discussion of suicide (an adult child recalls his father's death); Charlie throws a brick through the bank window when he gets a foreclosure notice; angry Audie throws a plate at Charlie; sad scene in which Audie finds her father dead in his bed; first launch features an explosion and crash that leaves Charlie bloody and broken, then laid up in the hospital.

Sexy stuff

Sexual slang ("getting laid").

Language

Mild language, used infrequently and casually: "s--t," "ass," "son of a bitch," "damn it." Some name-calling ("space cadets," "stupid").

Consumerism

Product sponsorship is a thematic concern of the movie (Farmer seeks commercial endorsements to finance the rocket, including Dunkin Donuts, Dairy Queen); other brand names mentioned or shown include Tang, Target, Volkswagen, Coca Cola, John Deere, and Lucky Charms.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Rancher drinks beer.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this is an uplifting family-friendly fantasy populated by realistic characters and settings. Younger kids might need some context to understand emotional scenes involving a grandfather's death and a rocket crashing. A character throws a brick through a bank window in anger, and a wife throws a plate at her husband. Kids in the family have to deal with their father's reputation for being "crazy," and his wife has to contend with financial hardship in wake of her husband's obsession. One rocket launch results in an explosion and crash that leaves Charlie in the hospital (some blood). Mild language, including "ass" and "s--t."

Parents say

Kids say

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What's the story?

A former astronaut who had to leave the space program to tend to family issues, Charlie Farmer (Billy Bob Thornton) still wants to be an astronaut in the worst way. By day, he works on his ranch (sometimes wearing his space suit); at night, he builds a rocket in the barn, with the goal of orbiting his capsule one time around the earth. The enormity of the project is daunting. Charlie leaves daily life details to his infinitely patient wife Audie (Virginia Madsen). Even when she discovers that Charlie has nearly bankrupted the family ("You're supposed to keep us safe"), Audie doesn't quite put a stop to the adventure. A visit from her own ailing father (Bruce Dern) makes her think hard about men's limits and aspirations, and how best to help them understand both.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Part frontier myth, part family saga, and part redemption story, THE ASTRONAUT FARMER is about dreaming, sacrifice, and obsession. Charlie remains fixated despite money troubles, legal threats, and taunts. His quirky outlook recalls the Polish brothers' earlier films (Northfork, Twin Falls Idaho), but the one in this movie is more literal. It's also too dependent on Audie as a "device." Like many women in the movies, she bears and expresses the emotional costs of Charlie's masculine dreaming.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about whether this movie is a fantasy, a drama, or both. What makes something a fantasy? Families can also discuss how Charlie's two major responsibilities -- to follow his dream and support his family -- conflict with each other. Does he make a good choice? How does his desire to orbit his rocket both inspire and frighten his children? What obstacles does Charlie face? How does Audie support her husband?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:February 22, 2007
DVD release date:July 10, 2007
Cast:Billy Bob Thornton, Bruce Dern, Virginia Madsen
Director:Michael Polish
Studio:Warner Bros.
Genre:Drama
Topics:Misfits and underdogs
Run time:104 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:thematic material, peril and language.

This review of The Astronaut Farmer was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 15 years old Written bybubbo April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

Good

A charming, quirky, and inspiring movie--I was surprised by how much I liked it! As far as content goes, there is one somewhat intense crash scene, some peril and suspense. There also is quite a bit of language for a PG movie, although it is all mild profanity. Good for kids 8+
Parent of a 13 year old Written byTsion March 20, 2009
AGE
11
QUALITY
 

A Laugh-Out-Loud Movie...But Not In a Good Way

THE ASTRONAUT FARMER is not a good movie. At all. If you watch it, you probably won't enjoy it, due to its laughable story, soap-opera script, and bad acting. Language is an issue in the movie. "S**t" and "a*s" are used some, and so is "d**n". A man recalls his father's suicide, and the main character is beat up pretty bad after a shuttle crash. He is also a bad role model for kids. He sacrifices his family's hopes and dreams on a whim to make himself feel good, and we're supposed to praise him for it. He acts irrationally to situations and vandalizes public buildings.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Adult Written byjunjun April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

Kids may get bored

good movie,i dont know what group age it was aidmed at,kids get bored by the long talks & lack of action but for grounp ups its a very good movie

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