Rating: PG-13, 1 hour 40 minutes
In a Nutshell: This sci-fi surprise is a fun road trip mystery. Indie director Jeff Nichols is a compelling storyteller that allows the audience time to figure out what is going on while the film races along. I really like it when a director doesn’t spoon-feed the audience. As the plot unfolds, you’ll see magical elements of E.T.,The Extra-Terrestrial , Close Encounters Of The Third Kind , and even Starman .
Marketing for this film was minimal, so this little gem may pass you buy.
- “Sometimes we’re asked to do things that are beyond us.” – electrician
- Sacrifice for those you love
- Family, parental bonds of unconditional love
- Trying to understand one’s true identity
Things I liked:
- There are some cool special effects, like when the satellite debris hits the ground and sprays all over a gas station, as well as other things Alton can do.
- Good for Adam Driver for having 2 movies out in theaters at the same time. Yep, he plays Kylo Ren in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Plus Bonus Features) . Nope, he doesn’t throw a tantrum in this film.
- Jaeden Lieberher is adorable and does a great job playing Alton.
- The effective musical score adds suspense from beginning to end.
- There’s an interesting element that refers to a savior and a heavenly plane: higher beings who watch over us, but we can’t see them. You get to see the beings of light, sort of, who are peaceful and good….kind of angelic.
- It’s impressive how much can be done with such a low budget.
- Michael Shannon is captivating as a devoted father who will do anything for his son.
Things I didn’t like:
- We haven’t seen Kirsten Dunst in a while. She wears no make-up and has gained some weight, playing a devoted mother. I guess it really has been a long time since that upside down kiss with Spider-Man .
- SPOILER: The buildup is fun and mysterious, but then it simply ends in a clichéd car chase.
- “Is it too much to ask you to punch me in the face? No? Never mind.” – Paul Sevier
- “Could we go back to Texas now?” - Lucas
- “The only thing I ever believed in was Alton” – Roy (Michael Shannon)
- “You don’t have to worry about me.” – Alton
“I like worrying about you.” – Roy
Tips for parents:
- It might be a little too mature and intense for young children. Older teens will enjoy watching the story unfold as they find out who/what Alton Meyer is.
- Some profanity and violence.
- Discussion of cults and faith.
- A really bad car accident roughs up some people, but they don’t die.