“A Million Miles Away”: A Heartwarming Odyssey of Dreams and Family

Where to Watch: Streaming on Prime 

Release Date: September 15th

Rated: PG

Run Time: 120mins

Starring: Micheal Peña

Synopsis: Inspired by the real-life story of NASA flight engineer José Hernández, A Million Miles Away follows José and his family of proud migrant farm workers on a decades-long journey from a rural village in Michoacán, Mexico, to the fields of the San Joaquin Valley, to more than 200 miles above the Earth in the International Space Station. With unwavering support from his hard-working parents, relatives, and teachers, José’s unrelenting drive and determination culminate in the opportunity to achieve his seemingly impossible goal. Acclaimed writer and director Alejandra Márquez Abella has created a dazzling tribute to the loyalty and tenacity of the entire Hernández family, as well as anyone who dares to dream.

In an era of diversity in film, A Million Miles Away emerges as a gentle yet powerful reminder of the profound impact of a heartwarming narrative driven by dreams, resilience, and familial bonds. Directed by visionary storyteller, Alejandra Márquez Abella, this promising film is an inspiring saga that tugs at the heartstrings (truth be told, I had a little eye sweat during the screening myself), all while beautifully telling the heartwarming story of astronaut José Hernandez. 

This project shows where Jose’s journey took him, from the farm to outer space. During this pursuit, José had to transcend culture, racism, and circumstance to aspire to something as extraordinary as becoming an astronaut. We follow the journey of a family who once toiled a farm, their hands rooted in soil, yet now yearn to touch the stars. 

The beauty of A Million Miles Away lies not only in its narrative depth but also in the way the film was crafted. The transitions and flashbacks employed throughout the film are masterfully executed. Not an easy task as there’s always a risk that such transitions could take away from the quality of a film. These narrative tools act as signposts, expertly navigating the viewer through pivotal moments in the story and enhancing our emotional connection with the characters.

The heart and soul of A Million Miles Away is undoubtedly Michael Peña’s extraordinary performance as astronaut José Hernandez. Peña embodies the character with an authenticity that is both moving and convincing. He captures the charm, wit, and unwavering perseverance of Mr. Hernandez. Throughout the film, Peña breathes life into the character, making cus not just observers but confidants to his dreams and aspirations.

One minor concern that arose for me was that Peña was tasked with portraying a 20-year-old José. While Peña, with his youthful appearance, makes a valiant effort, it’s challenging to fully buy into the age portrayal. Nevertheless, this minor concern does little to diminish the overall impact of his performance, which remains commendable.

Beyond Peña’s brilliant portrayal, the film’s true triumph lies in its portrayal of familial bonds. A Million Miles Away showcases with heartfelt tenderness the unbreakable support of José’s family, particularly his wife. It is a poignant reminder of the sacrifices, unwavering encouragement, and shared aspirations that define the immigrant family experience.

The film beautifully captures the essence of family as a source of strength, portraying the characters not as individuals but as integral pieces of a collective puzzle. I can relate because my family operates in this same way. Witnessing the family’s steadfast support for José as he navigates the complex (and often daunting) path toward his dreams is nothing short of heartwarming.

In conclusion, A Million Miles Away is more than just a film; it’s a heartfelt journey that celebrates the resilience of José Hernandez, the first Hispanic migrant to become a NASA astronaut. Michael Peña’s exceptional performance, combined with the film’s craftsmanship, makes it a must-watch for those seeking an uplifting cinematic experience. It’s a tribute to the dreams that unite us and the families that sustain us, leaving a lasting impression on the heart and soul.

About Dapper Dr Feel

Felipe Patterson aka Dapper Dr. Feel, #BlackLoveConvo & Entertainment | @fdapperdr Dapper Dr. Feel is a Entertainment journalist and member of the Critics Choice Association and African American Film Association.

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