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'The Midnight Sky' is the latest film directed by acclaimed actor George Clooney. A poignant moving story, but do you understand the ending?

‘The Midnight Sky’: Understand the film’s ending now

Debuting today on Netflix is the George Clooney vehicle, The Midnight Sky, a science-fiction film based on the novel Good Morning, Midnight. Both the film & novel tell the story of a scientist who desperately makes his way across the Arctic Circle, accompanied by a young child, in hopes of warning off a returning spacecraft following a “global catastrophe”.

Prepare yourselves, friends, for this sci-fi epic delivers an ending that’s as ambitious as the film itself, and we’re here to help make sense of it all.

George Clooney takes the wheel

The Midnight Sky is Clooney’s seventh outing in the director’s chair, having already helmed a variety of films that have earned him critical praise, including 2005’s Good Night, and Good Luck, and 2011’s The Ides of March.

Clooney has served as the director of a few duds, too, including 2008’s Leatherheads, and 2017’s Suburbicon. The common denominator for Clooney’s poorer-received film seems to be in their singular titles, right?  

Now, Clooney takes what feels like his most ambitious swing yet, taking his talents to space as both director & lead actor, in a film that’s different in both genre & tone from any other George Clooney project we’ve seen yet.

The Midnight Sky on Netflix

The Midnight Sky features an ensemble cast including Felicity Jones (Rogue One), David Oyelowo (Selma), and Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights).

The film revolves around the character of Augustine (Clooney), a scientist who’s tasked with finding habitable planets for the human race. Once a catastrophic event decimates Earth, killing the majority of the population, Augustine, who refuses to leave his arctic base due to his impending fate involving cancer, is on a mission to stop a returning craft from Jupiter who’s unaware of the dangerous radiation on Earth.

Augustine sets off to find a powerful antenna located across the Arctic which is, hopefully, powerful enough to make contact with the carrier before it’s too late.

There’s enough visually pleasing imagery as well as strong performances in The Midnight Sky to make the film worth viewing, but it’s the ending we’re here to talk about, which left many of us as emotionally satisfied as a 2:00am Taco Bell customer.

The Midnight Sky ending

In Augustine’s mission, he discovers a young girl at his station who doesn’t speak, and with his previous colleagues all gone, he realizes that it’s up to him to take care of this young girl.

The two, who form a close bond after their journey across the Arctic, complete their mission only to realize that the returning spacecraft has had a communication breakdown due to a meteor strike.

Pregnant astronaut Sully (Felicity Jones) and her husband (Oyelowo) attempt to fix the ship as Augustine instructs the crew to not return to Earth for him, but to instead return to the Jupiter moon k-23 and start a new life there.

Sully realizes late that she’s actually speaking to the man Augustine who inspired her to join the NASA force, even noting how her own mother knew him at a point in time. Augustine realizes Sully is actually the daughter he had during a short relationship thirty years ago. The child who has been accompanying him on this mission was actually an illusion of a younger Sully, created by Augustine as perhaps a motivation tactic.

Augustine tells Sully that he’s happy that he finally had the chance to meet her.

What to make of it?

It seems as if the overall theme of The Midnight Sky is about connection.

Not only does the story present itself as a simple task of one man trying to connect with a spaceship in order to save those on board, but he’s also trying to save the connection with a daughter that he didn’t know existed.

The idea of connection is at the focal point of the entire film, as Augustine struggles earlier on with developing any type of human connection, which is why Jean, Sully’s mother, left him years ago.  The film shares a message on how few things can be accomplished alone.

The Midnight Sky is available on Netflix as of December 23, 2020.

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