A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Family can and perhaps should take precedence to career. Self sacrifice is sometimes necessary.
Positive Role Models
Augustine loses his family due to his need to explore. He also puts his own life on the line to warn the space crew not to return to damaged earth. The crew members care for each other dearly and support each other personally and professionally. Mitchell is willing to sacrifice his life to try to save his family. All of the characters display courage. Some diversity.
Violence & Scariness
Augustine and Iris set out in hazardous conditions and must wear masks to avoid radiation. They're almost drowned when the ice beneath them begins cracking. They come across a dying man and Augustine helps put him out of his misery. The astronauts encounter space debris on their trip and also when three of them are on a spacewalk, leaving one fatally injured. Her blood sprays out of her spacesuit and floats away in globs.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Two of the astronauts are expecting a child.
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"Bulls--t," "piss," "damn," "bitch."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Augustine appears to get drunk and stumble to bed carrying a bottle and a glass, which he uses to down his medication. He appears to drink from the glass again in the morning.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that the book-based film The Midnight Sky has a generally melancholy tone and deals with the destruction of earth and humanity as well as the deaths of individual characters. Director George Clooney's starring role is a scientist who sacrificed family for career and is now dying alone on the surface of the earth. Before he journeys out on a danger-filled trek, his days revolve around checking for other signs of life, eating microwaved meals, giving himself blood transfusions, popping pills, drinking heavily, vomiting, and sleeping. When he does detect signs of life -- in the form of five astronauts on a spaceship returning to earth -- we turn to their also generally gloomy stories. Each astronaut is grappling with homesickness or uncertainty about the future, and three risk their lives on a spacewalk. The bloody scene on their return could be too intense for young viewers, as could a couple of the encounters on Clooney's journey. All of the characters display courage. Language includes "bulls--t," "piss," "damn," and "bitch." To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
The Midnight Sky is a film that tries to be epic but doesn't quite spend enough time with any of its characters to generate sufficient emotion. The two parallel storylines do have some interest. In one, a dying, grey-bearded Clooney evokes a combination of human frailty and save-the-species determination. His weary face and physical motions reflect the potential futility of the near-impossible journey he's set out on. It's unusual to see the leading man look so infirm, and this alone creates some intrigue to keep the otherwise slow opening scenes of Clooney shuffling around alone at an Arctic Circle observatory interesting. Ethan Peck also looks and sounds a lot like Clooney as the younger Augustine.
In the parallel story, a group of astronauts steer their spaceship through unchartered space regions to get back to earth. We're meant to connect with each member of the crew through their relationships with each other and their individualized holograms of family life back home. But it's not quite enough to generate the emotion desired when the crew members suffer accidents or put themselves in harm's way. What films like this do have (and is likely better enjoyed on a big screen) is the creative and often quite beautiful invention of other worlds, or our own world made other. The Midnight Sky has one other major facet to it, which is a prominent musical score by Alexandre Desplat that goes way beyond indicating moods and aims to inspire emotion all on its own.
Did we miss something on diversity?
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.