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The Gravity of Motherhood: A TIFF Review of ‘Proxima’

September 9, 2019Ben MK

Most films about space travel tend to gravitate towards depicting the drama of journeying beyond our planet. In Alice Winocour's Proxima, however, the drama is all about one astronaut as she deals with leaving her daughter behind for a year aboard the International Space Station.

Starring Eva Green and Matt Dillon, the film follows Sarah (Green), a French engineer and single mother who's just been handpicked to join the three-person crew of the Proxima, a mission led by Mike (Dillon). But training for the rigors of the trip not only means readying her body, it also means preparing herself emotionally. And even though Sarah has tried to instill a sense of independence in her daughter Stella (Zélie Boulant), she finds herself struggling with her own decision to be apart from her for the first time in her life, and the separation anxiety that comes along with it.

More of a character study than anything else, Proxima builds on an enigmatic performance from Green, whose portrayal of a first-time astronaut trying to fight gender stereotypes while balancing the demands of work and family is a tribute to women and mothers everywhere.

Proxima makes its world premiere at the 2019 Toronto International Film Festival. Its runtime is 1 hr. 47 min.

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