Following an extinction-level event, a lonely scientist struggles to
contact astronauts on their way home to warn them to stay away.
The Midnight Sky (2020)
Directed by George Clooney
Written by Mark L. Smith
Starring George Clooney, Felicity Jones, David Oyelowo,
Caoilinn Springall, Demián Bichir, Kyle Chandler, Tiffany Boone
Based on the novel Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton
Oscar Nominations - Best Visual Effects
The Midnight Sky was one of the last movies of 2020. Released on Netflix, it was overshadowed by Soul and Wonder Woman 1984. It received mixed reviews and after a few days, nobody was talking about it anymore. I thought it was a very poignant drama, led by a phenomenal performance and direction from George Clooney. More than that, it was a pointed lesson about what could happen to our planet in a few decades if we don't actively try to change the way we, as a species, conduct our lives. Much like the way Hillbilly Elegy was shunned because of politics, I believe The Midnight Sky was shut down for the same reason.
In the year 2049, Earth freezes over and the air is made poisonous. Most of humanity dies out, apart from pockets of people living under the ground. Dr. Augustine Lofthouse (Clooney) has terminal cancer, so he stays behind at an Arctic observatory to contact a spaceship on its way home. The Aether, which was sent to find a new home for humanity, is nearly back and they know nothing of humanity's near-extinction. Augustine, along with a little girl that was left behind, hike to a nearby satellite station to contact the Aether. The journey is harsh, eye-opening, and leads to a moving finale where Augustine's true motivations are revealed.
I think The Midnight Sky is a good movie, but it's not what people need right now. In the midst of a very real global pandemic, the last thing people want to watch is a film about mankind's extinction due to poisonous air. Still, in a few years, maybe the film will be reclaimed and given new life. It's certainly good enough to deserve it.