Directed By: Joe Johnston
Written By: Homer H. Hickam Jr. (book) , Lewis Colick (screenplay)
There have been hundreds of movies from Hollywood which are based on real lives and many of them have been truly inspirational. October Sky, belongs to that league of inspiring movies, based on real life of someone who not only changed his life but inspired a lot of other and is inspiring now through this movie. Based on autobiographical novel Rocket Boys: A Memoir by Homer Hickman , October Sky takes you in the lives of 4 boys led by Homer, who not only chased their dreams but also were able to catch it and realize it.
Homer Hickman lives in the small mining town of Coalwood in west Virginia. His father John Hickman is the supervisor of the coal mine, and is a man who believes someday his son Homer will take his place. The story starts with the launch of Sputnik I (Telemetry from Sputnik I as it passed overhead ), the world's first artificial satellite launched by the Soviet Union in 1957 on October 4. Homer with the whole town saw the Sputnik pass over their town n decides that he is gonna make a rocket. After initial failed attempts Homer gets in touch with Quentin the class geek. Homer , Quentin along with Roy Lee and O'Dell, Homer's friends start on their journey to space. The four boys encouraged by their teacher Miss Riley, helped by few at his fathers mine test their initial rockets, which actually are not able to take off. But boys do see success after using the correct fuel and putting in some fine metal in their rocket. John is against Homer's madness and they don't agree on anything. Homer and boyz receive a set back after they are charged with starting a fire by one of their missing rockets. John meets an accident in the mine and is bed ridden. Homer decides to work in mine for his father. After the recovery of his father Homer goes back to what he wanted and starts building rockets again. The group wins accolades for its hard work,by winning the National Science Fair. Homer and his father John are able to reach peace , when his father comes to see the launch of their final rocket. The boys were known as Rocket Boyz, for their efforts.
Effortless performances from the stars makes October Sky a pleasure to watch. Jake as delightful, strong minded Homer plays one of the best roles of his career. He is every bit Homer Hickman we can imagine. His smile has been his asset and the director makes good use of it at the right spots. Chris Cooper as John Homer, is a veteran of such intense characters. Most of the roles he has done are intense, strong willed and stubborn in nature and here also he delivers a superb performance in a role which he has relived in a lot of his movie. The friends played by Chris, William and Chad provide the much needed support and humour through their performances. The family backgrounds of the boys were very nicely used by the writers to create sequences which made me laugh n shed a tear for them. This being a real story makes it all the more interesting and inspired. Laura Dern plays Miss Riley , the teacher who acts as the motivator and inspiration for the Rocket Boys. She plays the character with lot of heart and honesty. Her expressions in the later part of the movie speak a lot and bring in emotion of pride in the movie.
The genre of the movie is inspirational but the thing that makes it standout is not the achievement but the journey towards it, even though the achievement wasn't a big one. The screenplay of the movie makes it a engaging and delightful watch. The movie starts with Homer being just another teen from a small town and by the time movie ends the boy had turned into a man. This transition is very beautifully brought out by Joe Johnston. The background score is peppy as per the time period shown in the movie. The cinematography is also well done job, Fred Murphy is able to capture the beauty of the town and around it. With some intense scenes between John and Homer the director also tries to explore the father-son relationship, which has been a part of lot of movies. The intensity of the movie is very well helped by some fine dialogues. The bonds of friendship and respect are very strongly presented in the movie.
October Sky is a brilliant effort and is a must watch if one is looking for inspiration. The movie sincerely and with full conviction tells the story of four young boyz who fought for their dream and what they believed in..
Plus : Good Performance and an inspiring subject.