Friday, April 8, 2016

Midnight Special is a hidden gem

Movie Title:      Midnight Special

Grade:   A-

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. 

Uplifting theme: 
  • “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.


Funny lines:
  • “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

Interesting lines:
  • “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.
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