Title: Don’t Come Back From The Moon
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Director: Bruce Thierry Cheung
Starring: James Franco, Rashida Jones, Jeffrey Wahlberg
Runtime: 1 hr 38 mins
What It Is: Mickey is a teenage boy growing up in a rural part of California. His father, along with several other fathers in the town, has just run off to an unknown destination for an unclear period of time. Confused and struggling to cope with his recent abandonment, Mickey attempts to assume the role of “the man” in his household, providing some sort of stability to his mother and younger brother, while also trying to cope with his own conflicting emotions.
What We Think: We think that it definitely makes us feel. The driving point for the entire film is introduced rather early in the plot. Not necessarily unheard of among features on the shorter side of runtime, but the main character isn’t given much stage time to develop on camera before his crisis completely turns his life upside down. The most heartbreaking yet intriguing part of this particular situation is that it is not only affecting one family: every father in the town seemed to have vanished into thin air for no concise reason. All these kids and teenagers abandoned in an already seemingly destitute area; what are we left to witness in the story? Nothing but painfully realistic confusion and lack of direction, especially among the main character. A child having to not only assume the role of the protector and the emotional rock in his own household, but having to juggle pivotal moments in an adolescent’s life that we all need our parents for. It is difficult to witness and comprehend human struggle and torment, especially among children, and in this feature we see it portrayed in a way that makes crystal clear how underdeveloped mentally and emotionally children are in handling life crises such as this.
Not sure if my assumptions are in the right ballpark, but I want to tackle the metaphor of the Moon. Now we know that that’s where all these kids’ fathers say they went, but its safe to assume that these mens come from limited resources, none of which would sustain a space journey to an astronomical body 238,900 miles away. No, these men definitely didn’t venture out that far, but for these children, who were left with no explanations whatsoever….that must be what it feels like to them. These men have disappeared and seem like they don’t intend on returning, so why shouldn’t these kids assume they their fathers left somewhere far away…like the Moon? How much farther can you get in the mind of a child than that? But hey, that’s just my theory…I’m sticking to it, though.
Our Grade: B+, And I don’t give this feature such a grade lightly. I feel like this is one of those films where you gotta make a hot cup of tea, sit down in a comfy chair and just think on it. We’ve all been there; we watch a movie that doesn’t really seem like all that on the surface, but maybe some moments or some days after you get to thinking, maybe even rewatching it, and these little assumptions or theories start popping up or are made proven are you just realize a small but important detail you missed before. The film is pretty slow and the characters aren’t very dense, but with some genuine thought and a willingness to care, I’ve come to realize the feature is pretty emotionally solid.
Here’s our interview with director Bruce Thierry Cheung