Astronaut's Wife (1999)
Director: Rand Ravich
An overlooked and misjudged movie. Spencer (Depp) is an astronaut, he goes on a mission to earth’s orbit to fix some damn satellite. Ground Control loses touch with him for two minutes but he gets home safe and sound, or does he. Once back he doesn’t seem to be the same fella…what happened during those two minutes? Wife Jillian (Theron) has a hard time finding out but she doubts that something is off the charts.
Spencer seems different, he quits flying, he makes them move to New York so he can take some position with a team of plane engineers and once she becomes pregnant it is obvious he’s not the same man he used to be.
On the surface this looks like a very simple movie. But trust me, after viewing it 4 times I have picked up things that I hadn’t even considered on my first viewing. This movie is all about subtlety. Maybe it’s too subtle but everything is still all there. You just have to really pay attention. On a whole this movie is a slow, beautifully shot, engrossing film with nods to " Rosemary’s Baby"all over. " They move to New York" "The quirky pregnancy" "The spouse who’s not what he seems", "The rape sequence", "Theron’s haircut (same as Mia Farrow in Baby)’ and even a practically identical "suspense elevator scene.’
It’s clear the director was aiming for a "Rosemary’s Baby" for the 90’s, he doesn’t quite hit the mark but in my opinion he comes damn close. Now let’s see if it’s a boy or a girl…
None…except for a bleeding ear.
Great…Johnny "I will never age" Depp (Spencer) gives us an underplayed, Texas twang, menacing performance. Every scene he’s in you can’t take your eyes off him, the man’s got charisma to boot. Not a very challenging part for an actor of his stature but hey…even Johnny Depp sometimes wants to take it easy. Theron (Jillian) proves to us she can carry a movie and cry on cue. She’s wonderful and the movie gains a lot due to her presence and talent. Joe Morton (Sherman) gives a solid performance and I’d love to see him in more movies with bigger parts. Clea Duvall (Nan) is totally miscasts in the role of Jillian’s sister. She just doesn’t "gel" with the other actors and mumbles her line as if she was competing for the "Female Brando" award. Clea you are far from a "Brando"…articulate…please girl…
T & A
We see Depp’s back and Theron’s back…that's as far as it goes. But I must admit that watching two very attractive leads at the same time such as Depp and Theron can confuse one’s sexual identity. ..namely my own…Depp is hot!
This movie is blessed with masterful directing, Rand Ravich doesn’t hold back on us. We get slow motion, fast motion, quick cuts, extreme close ups (Theron’s lips…yummm), overhead shots, filters and lots of creepy hallways. Also the lighting is exquisite and the camera movements are as soft as Theron’s butt. This is one good looking movie.
The score is soothing, almost like those tapes people put on to relax. Add the score to the beautiful way it’s directed and you got yourself one moody movie. I loved the way the director used sounds to actually tell the story…I think a lot of people missed that. Also there’s a very kool scene with Sid Vicious’ "My Way" playing in the back.
This movie is not for everyone. If you have a lazy brain when it come to movies skip this one and rent "Species 2" instead. It deals with a similar theme and it’s all laid out for you…no thinking needed. "Astronauts Wife" is a lot like the "Johnny Depp" character "Spencer"…it’s mysterious, quiet and a bit off but if you look hard enough you’ll see that the little things are really big things and are not to be taken lightly. This movie is a different kind of horror movie just like "Rosemary’s Baby" was when it was first release. It follows different rules and is all about undertones…put on your thinking caps and dig in.
SPOILERS AHEAD: DON'T READ IF U HAVEN'T SEEN IT
They had a line in the trailer spoken by Johnny Depp to Theron. The line was: Whatever you see I see, whatever you think…I know. For some reason they cut it out of the movie (I hate when they do that) It’s too bad cause it explains a lot. Some of the questions people have asked me about the movie and the answers.
What is Spencer’s motivation? Why build the plane?: Depp is now an alien. The plane he’s building kills all that is electrical, like our planes, our tanks…the plane has two seats, two computers for his two offspring who will pilot it. Spencer is preparing an alien invasion. His species are gonna take over the world.
How come Spencer knows everything and always seems to appear when Jillian is about to mess with his plans?: The babies Theron is carrying are in direct contact with Spencer. They communicate through sound waves.