Almost two years after its world premiere and after being one of the films that participated last January in the online version of the Wikén Film Festival, this Canadian film debuted on the Chilean virtual billboard through the Cining platform, a production clearly aimed at a more family-oriented audience, which focuses on veteran Angus, a retired engineer and widower who has moved in with his daughter’s family and still cannot get over the death of his wife Rosie. The old man feels a bit useless and only dedicates himself to looking every night with his telescope at the stars and especially a shining comet; He does not get along very well with his son-in-law, but he does have a special connection with his grandson, who tries to enthuse him into participating in the lottery contest launched by a billionaire who is organizing the first commercial flight into space and offers a quota to whoever is the winner.
This is the first feature film directed by Canadian Shelagh McLeod, who has developed an acting career since the late 1970s, much of which has focused on television. And precisely the results of this first film are very television, but not in the style of the increasingly cinematographic productions that can be seen today on the different streaming platforms, but rather in the old way, like those works that were abundant and still they are seen on the “small screen”, simple in manufacture and often quite flat staging, with candid stories, emotional components and uplifting messages and predictable development, which can be appreciated by audiences of different ages.
Indeed An Extraordinary Dream is quite conventional and resembles many films we have seen before, not only for its austere visual ideas, but also for the elements of its story, from the complicity in the relationship between the grandfather and his grandson to the the sympathy of the old people whom Angus will meet when he has to go live in a nursing home and of course the classic theme of “the last chance” that you have in life, because even if at one point it is said that “dreams they do not come true ”, the audience can guess from the beginning the directions that the plot will take.
Richard Dreyfuss’s contribution
It is a story that requires the goodwill of the viewer to let a lot of improbable things happen – from a comet that looks very fake and does not seem to move in the sky, until the short time of preparation for space travel, or a application right at the last minute-, letting go of moments as cliché as a scene in which the elderly begin to dance or assimilate the very little justified changes in the attitude of the protagonist’s son-in-law. And the montage is not very helpful either, because although it maintains a good rhythm throughout its hour and a half of duration, everything feels a bit rushed and even abrupt at times.
In any case, it must be recognized that despite all the film is not too overloaded in its sentimental elements and does not resort to cheap blows or manipulations or tearful excesses that abuse the emotion of the public. And this is largely due to the interpretive contribution of who plays Angus: veteran Richard Dreyfuss, who is also an executive producer of the film. Currently 73 years old, the remembered actor who became famous with classics from the 70s such as American Graffiti, Jaws, Close Encounters of the Third Kind and The Goodbye Girl remained in force quite actively until the 1990s, which included Jobs with filmmakers like Nichols (Hollywood Memories), Oz (How About Bob?), Hallström (My Dear Intruder), Reiner (My Dear President), and Lumet (The Dark Side of Justice), and even get nominated again Oscar, for Mr. Holland’s Opus (1995)
But in the last two decades the presence of Dreyfuss has become more elusive and less relevant, and on the local billboard we have barely seen him occasionally, in low-impact roles or in not exactly memorable productions, such as the remake “Poseidon”, the Oliver Stone’s political satire, “W” .; or in two successful productions starring veteran Hollywood figures: “RED” and “When they want.” So while his Angus in “An Extraordinary Dream” isn’t really anything particularly remarkable, Dreyfuss’s presence brings a very effective humanity and warmth to his character, as reflected in the scenes with his daughter; And although he looks quite old and at times even fragile -apparently not only because the role demands it-, it is difficult that the most moviegoers do not feel a certain emotion when seeing him dream again of traveling to space or evoking his wife, which connects us with titles like “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and even “Always”. Of course, in them it was directed by Spielberg, which confirms to us internally that Dreyfuss deserves better roles, more unforgettable films and more stimulating filmmakers.
Soon available at Cinemark and Hoyts through the Cining platform
Original title: Astronaut
Director: Shelagh McLeod
With: Richard Dreyfuss, Richie Lawrence, Colm Feore, Krista Bridges, Lyriq Bent, Art Hindle, Graham Greene, Karen LeBlanc
Duration: 97 minutes
Gender: Adventure, Drama
Script: Shelagh McLeod, Carolyn Saunders, Maureen Dorey
Song: Virginia Kilbertus
Production: Jessica Adams, Sean Buckley
Release date: March 4, 2021
Web: See here
Distributor: BF Distribution