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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

October Sky (1999)



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Fun fact: this film got its name because it's an anagram of the original title, Rocket Boys, which is more descriptive. It's a true story about a kid who grows up in a mining town. He is less than thrilled about his apparently inevitable fate of working in the mines, but he dreams about rockets and teaches himself how they work and how to build them. The community, and his father in particular, take exception to the boy's hobby, but his passion is too great to contain.

What makes the film work so well is how nuanced it is in its portrayal of the lives these characters lead. Most of us probably haven't grown up in places like this, but the film makes them feel real. We understand why these characters think and feel the way they do. We understand the problems and pressures they face. The film handles them with compassion and a light, sometimes almost magical touch.