The Midnight Sky

Critics Consensus

The Midnight Sky lacks the dramatic heft to match its narrative scale, but its flaws are often balanced by thoughtful themes and a poignant performance from director-star George Clooney.

50%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 230

26%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 2,161

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Movie Info

A lone scientist in the Arctic races to contact a crew of astronauts returning home to a mysterious global catastrophe.

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News & Interviews for The Midnight Sky

Critic Reviews for The Midnight Sky

All Critics (230) | Top Critics (52) | Fresh (116) | Rotten (114)

Audience Reviews for The Midnight Sky

  • Jan 10, 2021
    =Spoilers= A movie ruined by virtually any description of the plot, the ending ignores the elephant in the room that it takes about 10 000 people to posses a large enough gene-pool to continue the human race. An incredibly depressing movie that can't seem to decide if some characters are real or imaginary but walks the vague line between. It's an interesting effort to not explain things, but it felt more like there weren't any good answers to the unexplained elements. The acting was phenomenal but the truly dark tone of the movie is never actually addressed by the movie. Two characters essentially suicide on a hopeless endeavor when they could have helped the remaining survivors and spent their lives preserving what they could of the human race.
    Mark C Super Reviewer
  • Jan 05, 2021
    The Midnight Sky is one of those high concept ideas that never reaches its potential. I had been intrigued to see what George Clooney could accomplish with a high budget and a streaming platform not known for strong arming filmmakers on final cut. The end product is mixed and the overall tone is all over the place. The film feels safe and it never allows the supporting cast the opportunity to shine. I found the film to be too short. The overall idea was interesting and the Clooney character moments are what keeps this film together. I had heard of the mixed reception prior to watching and it wasn't until the middle I found the film started to sink underneath its on weight. There was an opportunity for Clooney to really land a sci fi concept with little restraint but this sadly falls into the very common pile of Netflix films that don't work. 04/01/2021
    Brendan O Super Reviewer
  • Dec 30, 2020
    I love a good apocalyptic thriller but this was a complete yawner. Literally nothing happens on a frozen/torched earth (we never really know what caused the apocalypse) or on the space mission to find a habitable moon/planet. A mute girl shows up "suspiciously" to give Clooney something to worry about, and the usual tropes of traveling in space are the main source of drama there. (The reveal on that girl in the end I had pegged immediately and I'm really not that clever.) Clooney plays against type as a soft spoken engineer sporting a full-on Santa beard wth a buzz cut. Felicity Jones is a pregnant astronaut with nothing much to do except worry a lot. The most interesting scene was a dream where she's on a potential habitable moon of Jupiter and the ship leaves without her. Now that would've made for an interesting flick, except it was already done with <i>The Martian</i>.
    Mark B Super Reviewer
  • Dec 22, 2020
    The Midnight Sky is really two sci-fi survival movies in one. In 2040, the world is experiencing a planet-killing ecological disaster. A team of astronauts, lead by a pregnant Sully (Felicity Jones), is returning from a multi-year mission to check if a moon of Jupiter is habitable. On Earth, Augustine (George Clooney with a Santa beard) is the lone scientist left at an Arctic research station. He has cancer and sees his life as having run its course, that is, until he finds a small girl (Caoilinn Springall) who missed being evacuated. They band together to brave the wintry, poisonous elements to travel to another outpost to better communicate with the returning astronauts and possibly secure an escape from this dying world. It sounds like it should be a very exciting and interesting movie. There are even sinking ice floes, space walks amidst deadly asteroids, and Augustine having to stop at points lest his overtax his frail body. In practice, the movie isn't so much exciting as it is ponderous, grasping for a larger philosophy and existential meaning that seems entirely elusive. We're treated to several flashbacks of a young Augustine (different actor but still voiced by Clooney) that seem superfluous until a grand reveal that made me audibly groan so loud I thought my neighbors would complain. I kept waiting for the relevancy between the stories to be demonstrated, and when it happened it was not worth the two-hour wait. The realization was so hokey that it retroactively made me dislike the movie's moments that had been working earlier. As far as direction, this might be one of Clooney's strongest turns as a visual storyteller, even if he borrows liberally from other recent sci-fi movies, notably Gravity, The Martian, and Interstellar. There are moments of stark beauty and terror. Ultimately, the whole movie amounts to a sad man taking stock of his life and legacy (is he a metaphor for the Earth? Is the Earth a metaphor for him?), and I'm still wondering how something this glum could also be so maudlin. The pacing is another issue. I was always eager to jump the other storyline to see what they were doing (a cinematic "grass is greener" mindset). The acting is fine and I wish I could have spent more time getting to know the crew of this space mission (including Kyle Chandler, Demian Bichir, David Oyelowo, and Tiffany Boone), or conversely gotten to feel more of bond between Augustine and his near-mute charge that felt like it was providing insight into this man. Ultimately, looking back, there's a reason for some of the stilted characterization, but having an excuse for why your characters aren't better developed is like preparing an excuse why you did something self-sabotaging. The rest of The Midnight Sky doesn't better compensate for this storytelling choice, and so the movie feels too dull, frustrating, opaque, and overly manipulative, aided and abetted by Alexandre Desplat's sappy score. No more than the sum of its parts, you can soon watch The Midnight Sky on Netflix and fall asleep to it on your own couch. Nate's Grade: C+
    Nate Z Super Reviewer

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