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Asteroid City - Movie Review

Updated: Dec 9, 2023

As with all movies on this website, our goal is not to provide a complete synopsis of the film, but rather to document how the movie relates to the meaning of life. With that said, be forewarned, there are still spoilers ahead.

Asteroid City is a lackluster sludgefest of a movie directed by Wes Anderson. In theory, it is comedy-drama about a play within a film, people coming to terms with grief, coming of age, and trying to find meaning admist it all. In reality, I didn't laugh once and didn't find the film interesting in the least. Despite the long list of well-known celebrities and their attestation to the artistic qualities of the film—to its beauty, this movie will get the lowest rating we've ever had on this site.

One guesses, as one can best do, what this film is all about is absurdly exploring topics such as grief, coming to terms (or lack thereof) with absurdity itself, beauty, and mystery of life and the universe. But it does so at the cost of no one really knowing what is going on, including the fictional (and probably non-fictional) director of the movie, the actors, and the audience. Only the writer, perhaps, has any answers—but that is doubtful. Not knowing what is going on is perhaps the point. This, of course, mirrors life, as we often find ourselves at a loss for answers. UFOs, UAPs—terrestrial or extraterrestrial, come and go as they please in real life, and so do they in the film; stealing an asteroid without explanation and returning without one as well (just like abductees—real, fake, or imagined that is).

Characters in the play briefly ponder the meaning of life, and so do the actors outside of the play, and so do the actors outside of the film. No answers to be had, yet, wondering if what they are doing is correct—are they acting out the characters correctly. The director ensures at least one character that he is—the acting is perfect in fact. There is a section of the film that also highlights that people can never wake up if they have never been asleep. In any other film, it perhaps would have been delightful to examine this further, but given that Asteroid City put me to sleep, I just don't have the interest in doing so. Then again, if we never sleep, we can never wake up either. This movie is essentially the anti-Purpose Rose. It was quite refreshing to wake up from this nightmare and return to reality.

The only interesting part of the movie I found, and it wasn't enough to save Asteroid City from an overall 1 rating, was when the character Augie runs into the actress who was to play his dead wife at the end (her scenes were cut). After the exchange, Augie returns to the set of Asteroid City just in time for the closing epilogue, only to find that he woke up and nearly everyone left. Of course, this is how we often live life—scripted by things we think we need to say or do (in this sense, we're all actors and actresses), wondering if we are acting correctly (whether we feel it within or not), only to find that most of those that we encounter leave our lives no matter how great the shared experience—no matter how fervently we tried to play our roles. What remains, for better or for worse, is family.

Movie rating:

Overall - 1

Meaning of Life Relevance - 2

Uniqueness – 5

If you saw the film, what did you think? What philosophical insight (or lack thereof) can we gain from the movie? Comment below and let us know.

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