OCTOBER SKY (1999)
Heroes, they say, can come from anywhere. In 1957, when the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, Americans were afraid that the Communists would colonize space. But in the little mining town of Coalwood, West Virginia, people cared more for what was under them than over.
Everyone, except Homer Hickam (Jake Gyllenhaal, much younger of course), who is determined to master elementary rocketry with his friends. But in a town where everyone mines coal (except the lucky few who play football in colleges), rockets do not fit in with life.
So, guided by his helpful teacher Miss Riley, Homer embarks on a long and arduous journey to launch a rocket a few miles into the sky. And as you guessed, he does it at the end, but not without some ups and downs.
The best part about the movie is the expressions in Jake Gyllenhaal's eyes. In an age when Special Effects did not make up for expressions, Jake delights us with his eyes - sadness, anger, joy, he might have just kept quiet and let his eyes do the talking! The lines themselves are not pithy-but-brilliant remarks but plain and simple - just right for a small-town image.
The director could have made it a rather academic film by simply allowing the kids to launch their rocket. But then, how would that represent American family values that were the staple of movies in that age? The story of Homer having to give up school and work in the mines, and the determination that we see in his face, take us deeper and deeper into the movie. You can actually feel his plight and are absorbed into the movie.
At the end, October Sky is an excellent movie for all those who believe that dreams can come true with a lot of hard work. And even if you don't, for Homer's deep eyes, this movie is a must-watch! (OTFS)