You know those movies you sit through, and when they’re over, all you can say is, “Okay”? You didn’t hate it, you didn’t love it, you just watched it and promptly moved on to the next thing without another thought. “A Million Miles Away” is one of those movies.
It’s the based-on-a-true-story of José Hernández, who grew up as a migrant worker from Mexico, moving with his parents and siblings from town to town in California, picking whatever crop was ready for harvest. Because they never spent much time in the same place, José was always going to different schools. But he had a real aptitude for math and science, which, after he graduated from college, led to a job at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory. He met a woman, fell in love, married her, and they started a family.
But José wanted more. He’d wanted to be an astronaut since he was young. So, he applied to NASA, but was rejected. The next year, he tried again and was rebuffed again. This went on a dozen times, but we know he’ll eventually become accepted because no one makes a movie about someone who didn’t achieve their dream. Besides, in all the publicity photos, star Michael Peña is wearing a spacesuit, so no spoiler here.
Hernández was not the first Mexican to travel to space. That would be Rudolfo Vela, who got there 24 years earlier. However, Hernández was the first migrant worker to leave Earth’s atmosphere and spend two weeks aboard the International Space Station.
Predictability in a movie is not always a bad thing. Sometimes, we want to root for a character and see things go their way. By that measurement, I give “A Million Miles Away” a 6 out of 10. In other words, it’s okay.
Now playing on Amazon Prime Video.