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October Sky (1999)

Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Jake Gyllenhaal, Chris Cooper, more...
Director: Joe Johnston, Joe Johnston
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Rating:
Studio: Universal Studios
Genre: Drama, Costume Drama/Period Piece, Coming of Age
Running Time: 108 min.
Languages: English, French
Subtitles: English
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This title is currently out of print.

Synopsis
NASA engineer Homer H. Hickam, Jr.'s autobiography provided the basis for this drama about a teenager coming of age at the dawn of the space race. In 1957, Homer Hickam (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a high school student in Coalwood, West Virginia when the Soviet Union launches Sputnik, the first man-made satellite. While most of his friends and neighbors react with fear or distrust, Homer is instantly fascinated and begins studying everything he can find on jet and rocket design. While many of Homer's friends are puzzled by his new obsession, several new friends share his enthusiasm, and with the encouragement of his teacher (Laura Dern), Homer and his fellow "Rocket Boys" begin designing and launching their own homemade missiles. However, Homer's father (Chris Cooper) takes a dim view of his son's interest in rockets and is convinced Homer's future should be the same as his own, working in the local coal mines. October Sky mixes the drama of traditional family conflicts with a nostalgic glimpse of life in the mid-50's and a look at the earliest days of our journey into space. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Nostalgia, perseverence and courage... by HChang July 15, 2006 - 4:53 AM PDT
12345678910
I'm surprised I've never heard of this movie and am glad I rented it. The acting is great and the story wonderful.

Story starts out with an ordinary teen who is more interested in girls than math. This all changes with the launch of the Russian satellite, Sputnik, in 1957. Upon seeing the Sputnik glide across the night sky, Homer fantasizes about building a rocket, to the chagrin of his dad who is an old time coal miner and thinks his son's dream has gone too far. In a town like Coalwood, either you go to college on a football scholarship or be a coal miner like everyone else. Undeterred and to the horror of his two buddies, Homer befriends the school nerd, Quentin, to learn about rockets. Enduring the ridicules of almost the entire town, the boys set off to find the perfect combination that would make a rocket fly without exploding. Just when they think they've found the right formula, their hopes of entering the science fair are dashed when one of their stray test rockets is accused of starting a nearby fire. Things turn for the worst when Homer's dad is injured in a mine accident and Homer quits school to join the ranks of the miners so his brother could maintain the company-sponsored college scholarship.

I wasn't around in 1957 but watching the movie made me wish I were there. You don't have to be a science or rocket buff to enjoy this movie. It's one of those that makes you feel good in the end.




GreenCine Member Rating
12345678910

(Average 6.89)
80 Votes
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Top 100 Overlooked Films of the 1990s
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