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Movie Reviews

The Astronaut's Wife  

Cast
Spencer Armacost (Johnny Depp)
Jillian Armacost (Charlize Theron)
Sherman Reese (Joe Morton)
Alex Streck (Nick Cassavetes)
Natalie Streck (Donna Murphy)

Written and Directed by Rand Ravich

Rated R for violence, language, and strong sexuality
Running Time: 110 minutes Distributed by New Line Cinema

 Buy The Astronaut's Wife [1999] on DVD at Amazon!

The Astronaut's Wife is a film that gets lost by having too many loopholes. Spencer Armacost (Depp) is a veteran astronaut and a terrific husband to his wife, Jillian (Theron). Tragedy strikes Spencer and fellow astronaut Alex (Cassavetes) when something strange goes wrong on his current space mission. Spencer and Alex are hurried back to earth and are treated and revived. The two astronauts are considered American heroes and Spencer is back with his love Jillian. Spencer then decides to quit NASA and move to New York City with Jillian. Jillian is surprised by Spencer's decision and also becomes confused because he will not talk about the accident that happen to him in space. After a few freaky and sad scenes the couple moves to New York City, and Jillian becomes very scared and worried by the recent actions that Spencer has perform at his job and to her. Jillian then learns that she is pregnant with twins and suspects that Spencer is not the same man she married. These events open many doorways of the mysteries behind Spencer Armacost and his future plans for himself and his family.

The Astronaut's Wife is just an incomplete film. After the credits roll at the end, there are so many important aspects in the film that were left unsolved. These concepts are what really hurts this film.

The script is a disaster of many missing pieces. Rand Ravich, the director and writer of The Astronaut's Wife, had something to work with. I liked the plot line, the sequencing, and the dialogue, but the story is never finished. Ravich was either rushed with banging the script out, or had the cut a lot of scenes out. If the script would have been more tight, and about 15 minutes longer that the film would have worked. Maybe Ravich's intention was to leave open with all the loopholes for the audience to fill in. However, that concept doesn't ever work well with science fiction thrillers.

The acting in The Astronaut's Wife was fine and probably the best thing in the movie. Johnny Depp is very sharp in his role as Spencer Armacost. Charlize Theron is also pretty good, but her character in the film is very similar to the one she portrayed in The Devil's Advocate. I believe that Theron has talent, her emotional status and niches are outstanding. I would just like to see her choose some different roles, to help her become more versatile. Maybe like a character driven romantic comedy or a pure tearjerker film. Theron was a child actress, then a model in her teenage years and early twenties, and now she is back to acting. She was first seen in 1984's horror classic Children of the Corn, and then jumped back to the screen in 1996 in the wicked thriller 2 Days in the Valley. Joe Morton (Sherman Reese), whose credits include Terminator 2, Blues Brothers 2000, and Apt Pupil, delivers an effective supporting performance as the one man from NASA that has a sketchy idea of what really happen in space to Spencer Armacost.

The Astronaut's Wife is a film that had something to work with, but didn't elaborate on it. This year's The Matrix is one of only few science fiction films that I have seen work well with story line and the use of computer generated effects. The Astronaut's Wife has no need for computer generated effects, and there is only one or two in it. I would like to see more science fiction films that don't rely on the computer effects but on the script. However, The Astronaut's Wife becomes wounded and dies from its script.

The Astronaut's Wife is an adult focused thriller, that's acting is really the only strong element use in the movie.

Report Card Grade: C-

Beastman's Movie Reviews

Copyright, 1999 Joseph C. Tucker

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