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Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Adam Sandler’s “Spaceman” takes viewers to a new world

Starring Adam Sandler in the lead role, Netflix’s “Spaceman” is a melancholic, slow-burn science-fiction film that explores the emotional truths about relationships, isolation and mental health. This film is based on a novel by Jaroslav Kalfař titled “Spaceman of Bohemia.” Sandler’s character, Jakub Procházka, is a cosmonaut who works for the Euro Space Program in Czechoslovakia and is about to finish his 6-month trip in space. His purpose is to explore the ominous Chopra Cloud.

Jakub is regarded as “the loneliest man in the world.” However, Jakub disputes this, due to all of his online press conferences and the talks he has with his wife. However, this is not the case. He has been having marital issues and, unbeknownst to him, his pregnant wife Lenka wants to leave him. She lets him know this via a video call, however the space station refuses to let Jakub see it in order to preserve his mental state for the end of an already stressful exploration. Lenka is played by Oscar-winning actress Carrie Mulligan. 

Luckily, the voice call technology picks up on a curious alien, voiced by Paul Dano, who accompanies Sandler’s character on his last few days on the trip. Jakub named him Hanuš after a Czech individual who was thought to have built the Astronomical Clock in Prague.

Hanuš looks like a cross between a spider and an octopus. It was very creepy because he kept trying to tell Sandler’s character that everything was ok, but the alien’s appearance was not helping either me nor Jakub feel safe. 

Eventually, he did small things that won me over, like apologizing after sneezing, repeatedly calling Sandler’s character “Skinny Human,” and eating hazelnut spread to lessen his newfound depression and guilt that he had vicariously gained from Sandler’s character. Like a lot of Paul Dano’s characters, Hanuš had won over my heart. 

The spider is a solo explorer who escaped his planet from alien colonizers. He found Jakub and his issues intriguing, and he wanted to use his supernatural dreamlike powers and his therapeutic skills to help him. 

Dano’s voice is naturally soothing, so it was nice to hear him be an emotional assistant and companion to Sandler’s character. I continually felt sad whenever Jakub did not want to acknowledge him. 

Hanuš begs the character to explore his emotions and his commitment to Lenka by reviewing his memories with Lenka and his tumultuous upbringing with his father during the post-Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia.

The subplot of the film showcases Lenka, who has been struggling with her loneliness and depression as well. She goes to her mother for advice and to a group home to have support for her baby. The officials working for the Cosmonaut program are trying to persuade her not to end the marriage in order for the mission to end smoothly.

 One of my favorite moments of the film happens when Hanuš finds out that Jakob’s isolation and loneliness are self-inflicted. He finds out the reason behind Lenka and her sadness and fear and does not understand why Jakub would leave her during the miscarriage of their first baby. 

This creates a conflict between the two beings, and Hanuš straight up leaves Jakub right as they are about to explore “The Beginning” of the Chopra Cloud together. Luckily, he comes back a little later and the two embrace each other due to the unsettling end that may follow when they go into the cloud. 

Even though Jakub and Hanuš take up most of the screen time, both Jakub and Lenka have many somber revelations throughout the film about his self-isolation and loneliness, his love life and his reason for living. This film highlights the depressive state of a failing marriage and the effects isolation has on a person. 

I thought the film dragged a little bit at times, and I wish that the interactions between Hanuš and Jakub were more than just deep sayings and thoughtful expressions. The original novel should be read alongside this film to grasp the true emotionality of the story.

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