Movie Review: October Sky

Plot Summary:
October Sky tells the real life story of Homer Hickam and the Rocket Boys who, as young boys in a coal mining town, have few prospects of higher education or noteworthy careers. When Russia's Sputnik satellite sparks Homer's interest in rocketry, an inspirational journey begins to take flight. (Did you see what I did there with the rocket pun? 😁)
Why It Makes My List:
This is an inspirational, feel-good film that highlights the value of education, dreaming big, and family. Having watched an extended interview with the author, the movie does a great job of realistically portraying this story. As such, the characters are flawed - yet inspiring - people actually die, and the protagonist doesn't always know what he is doing.  I found this touch of realism refreshing since many films seem to water down, oversimplify, or skip over the hardship, trial and error, and human weakness that make the ultimate success all the sweeter. 

Other Reasons to Watch:
  1. Soundtrack: While the soundtrack on the whole isn't particularly special, the main theme is fitting and effectively complements the spectacular flight of the rockets throughout the film. 
  2. See a Young Jake Gyllenhaal: Before he was in Spider-man: Far From Home and Prince of Persia, he played a young country boy in October Sky.  While not an Oscar-worthy performance, he certainly does the young Homer Hickam justice, as does Chris Cooper who plays his stern, yet kind-hearted father. 
  3. Visual Storytelling: The theme of looking up to the sky, rather than descending into the coal mines as a metaphor for following your dreams was visually communicated throughout the movie and a powerful subliminal and visual method of portraying one of the main messages of the film. 
Reason to Pass:
  1. Contentious Home Life & Language: There is an above average amount of language for a PG movie, which is certainly realistic, but still a bit jarring at times. A contributing factor is the consistent arguments that Homer and his father have due to their opposing perspectives on life.
October Sky is available to stream here
As always, I recommend checking out the Parents Guide just so that you are aware of any potentially objectionable material before deciding whether to watch it.