"A Million Miles Away" Review: José Hernández's Compelling Journey to the Stars
A biopic based on astronaut José Hernández's book, "A Million Miles Away" tells the inspiring story of his journey from migrant farm worker to astronaut. The film focuses on the importance of José's family and community in his success. While it falls short in fully addressing the racial discrimination José faced, it still delivers a heartfelt and wholesome journey.
In the inspiring biopic "A Million Miles Away," based on the book by astronaut José Hernández, the story of reaching for the stars goes beyond individual determination. José, a migrant who worked on farms in the United States during his childhood, becomes a symbol of resilience for his community.
The film takes a linear approach, spanning from José's dreams of becoming an astronaut to his training at NASA and his eventual space mission. Director Alejandra Márquez Abella focuses on the heart of the story – José's family and community – rather than technical achievements. The runtime of two hours allows for a comprehensive exploration of José's journey.
Before his training begins, José is warned that this period will be challenging for his family, who will have to make sacrifices. However, the message that success is not solely an individual effort is already established early on. José's teacher recognizes his potential and urges his family to provide him with a stable education by not moving around for work. José's father gives up his dream of building a family house in Mexico, and his wife defers her dream of opening a restaurant to support his training.
This emotional thread serves as a foundation for José's dreams and propels the film forward. While the underdog story is not groundbreaking, the emphasis on the role of family and community makes it a compelling and uplifting watch.
However, the film's focus on feel-good moments diminishes its exploration of heavier themes. José's journey as a Mexican immigrant fighting for success in a competitive field in the U.S. inevitably involves his race. He faces teasing in class and is overlooked for important assignments at work. While these incidents are depicted in the film, their impact on José's life is not fully explored. The film avoids delving deeper into the unique obstacles José faced, prioritizing the success story over a thorough examination of racial discrimination.
Nevertheless, "A Million Miles Away" still offers a heartfelt and wholesome journey to the stars. José's story serves as an inspiration, showcasing the power of determination and the importance of community support.