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‘The Midnight Sky’ movie review: George Clooney’s grand meditation on life, the universe and everything

George Clooney’s ‘The Midnight Sky’  

In February 2049, three weeks after a cataclysmic event has rendered most of the Earth uninhabitable, scientist Augustine Lofthouse (George Clooney) stays behind at his research station in the Arctic Circle. He refuses to evacuate as he is seriously ill and knows he doesn’t have much time. Augustine tries to contact the spaceship, Æther, on its way back to Earth after a two-year mission exploring one of Jupiter’s moons, K-23, that Augustine had discovered. Augustine wants to tell the crew of the conditions on Earth and warn them off. However, the signal is too weak at the base and so he decides to go to a weather station which has a stronger signal.

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A little girl, Iris (Caoilinn Springall), is left behind at the station and though initially resistant, Augustine warms up to her. Between the daily dialysis and his attempts to reach Æther, we see glimpses of Augustine’s earlier life as a driven scientist (Ethan Peck) searching for habitable planets, meeting and falling in love with Jean (Sophie Rundle) who leaves Augustine when she realises his work always comes first.

The Midnight Sky
  • Director: George Clooney
  • Cast: George Clooney, Felicity Jones, David Oyelowo, Tiffany Boone, Demián Bichir, Kyle Chandler, Caoilinn Springall, Sophie Rundle
  • Story line: A mortally ill scientist tries to warn returning astronauts off a dying planet
  • Run time: 118 minutes

We also see life on board Æther, where astronaut Sully (Felicity Jones) her partner and captain Commander Adewole (David Oyelowo), flight engineer Maya (Tiffany Boone), pilot Mitchell (Kyle Chandler) and Sanchez (Demián Bichir) are looking forward to returning home to their families. There is plenty of good-natured ribbing as they think of names for Sully and Adewole’s unborn baby.

Based on Lily Brooks-Dalton’s 2016 novel, Good Morning, Midnight, The Midnight Sky is a grand meditation on life, the universe and everything — but the answer, unfortunately. is not 42. Clooney’s seventh directorial venture is chock-full of crises from cracking ice, freezing temperatures, slinking arctic foxes and sinking scooters to meteor showers and a dreadfully disturbing sequence involving perfect globules of floating blood.

The uneven pace where lots happen and nothing moves seems suited to our pandemic state of mind, which allows us to look kindly on this largely derivative film. Striking visuals and ethereal music warm the heart so that we can forgive Clooney for hiding his bonafide movie-star good looks behind a great shaggy beard and eyebrows.

The Midnight Sky is currently streaming on Netflix


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Printable version | Sep 20, 2021 5:47:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/movies/the-midnight-sky-movie-review-george-clooneys-grand-meditation-on-life-the-universe-and-everything/article33435641.ece

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