Proxima Movie Review
Eva Green delivers a career-defining performance in Proxima, a beautiful and pensive drama about a woman training to embark on a dangerous space mission which would take her away from her seven-year-old daughter for over a year, if not forever.
Torn between her dedication to her career and the bond with her child, saddled by guilt for the sense of abandonment (as her daughter’s teacher puts it, it’s not like she’s just going on a business trip), and as the only woman and mother on the mission looking to prove she is at no disadvantage to the men around her, French astronaut Sarah Loreau is a complex individual to say the least.
Green is absolutely terrific here and deserves to be in the conversation come award season, though the subtleties of both the film and her performance don’t naturally lend themselves to such.
From Alice Winocour, the co-writer of the terrific 2015 Oscar-nominated drama Mustang, Proxima thrives on the little moments, the fine gestures, the quiet dialogue, the silent look. Green, always an expressive actress, is a great fit for Winocour’s protagonist, but the screenplay too is immersive, slowly and unassumingly drawing you in minute by minute.
Proxima, of course (of course if you read my reviews often and know about my tastes), isn’t the kind of movie I’ll likely revisit. As well-made and engrossing in the moment as it is, it’s lack of sensational conflict or, in reality, overpowering emotion, keeps it just out of reach of what I’d call riveting, or essential. It’s beautiful, and beautifully acted, but a must-see drama it is not. Even now, a week later, all its fine little moments I wrote about above have started to escape me, leaving me with a shell of a memory.
That shell is a fond one, but a shell nonetheless. Proxima should be praised for Winocour’s direction, for the superb writing, for Green’s performance, and yet, sadly, it will likely be lost to time, a vessel silently lost to space.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.