The Midnight Sky is not just George Clooney’s most ambitious offering, but also one of Netflix’s. Based on a novel Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton, The Midnight Sky is sci-fi drama directed by Clooney who is also playing the lead role of a scientist, Dr Augustine Lofthouse. The movie also stars Felicity Jones, David Oyelowo, Tiffany Boone, Demian Bichir and Kyle Chandler. The Midnight Sky Movie Review: George Clooney’s Performance, the Visuals and Alexandre Desplat’s Score Are the Saving Graces in This Apocalyptic Netflix Drama.
In the film, Earth is no longer being a hospitable planet, with Augustine being perhaps the sole survivor. Augustine, a reputed scientist, had earlier discovered that K-23, a satellite of Jupiter, could be hospitable for human life. Presently, he is suffering from a terminal disease and is stationed at Arctic before the cataclysm happened. Because of the fact that he is dying anyway, Augustine didn’t join the band of survivors at his station when they had gone to underground bunkers to be with their families and wait for their impending doom.
Augustine takes it upon himself to inform the incoming space crafts of Earth’s condition. Only one mission survives, which is that of Aether, that is returning from K-23, after confirming it was fit for human survival. Commandeered by Gordon Adewole (David Oyelowo), along with his pregnant wife and astronaut Sully (Felicity Jones) and three other crew members (Kyle Chandler, Demian Bichir, Tiffany Boone), the ship is returning to Earth without knowing about its tragic fate.
Augustine has now to stop them from arriving on the planet, while the crew battles meteorite storm and uncharted paths to reach their homes. He also discovers a mute little stowaway girl on the station, whose name he later finds out to be Iris.
So what happens to Augustine and the space crew? Who is Iris really? Does Humanity stand a chance? Let’s decode the climax of the film by answering the below questions. Needless to say, there are some big spoilers below.
Who is Iris?
It turns that the young Iris is not real, but an illusion that Augustine has created for himself to cope with his isolation and that fact that he is dying. In fact, Iris is the daughter he never got to know well, the child he had with his ex-lover in his younger days.
A Still from The Midnight Sky
The only thing he knew about her was her name and a glimpse of her face, when the mother took her away, Which is why Iris was mute, because he never got the chance to hear his daughter speak to him. Which is also why Iris’ illusion was absent when Augustine gets to connect with his actual daughter. Iris’ illusion could be seen as the scientist’s regret for not having a family life, or his motivation to survive a bit more.
Sully = Iris
The pregnant Sully who manages to finally have a disruption-free connection with Augustine’s station, while talking to him about their further plans, reveals her name to be Iris. Something which Augustine realised, when she talked to him about how he once gave her mother a piece of meteor.
Felicity Jones in The Midnight Sky
Unfortunately, Sully never realised that the man she was talking to and who saved her life was her father.
Among the five crew members, Maya had already died, fatally injured during the meteor strike while repairing the ship from the outside. Realising that there is no point in returning to Earth, Gordon decides to return to K-23. Mitchell, however, is not sync with the plan, especially after he hears the last downloaded video of his wife, as she and their sons are about to move to their temporary safe rooms. Though their fates are unknown, Mitchell wants to be with them anyway.
Felicity Jones and David Oyelowo in The Midnight Sky
Similarly, Sanchez who is the most affected by Maya’s demise, also decides to accompany him. Having lost his own daughter at the age of four, Sanchez saw Maya as a daughter figure, and wanted to return her body back to Earth. So Sanchez and Mitchell go to Earth using one of Aether’s re-entry pods, with the film leaving their eventual fates unknown.
As for Gordon and Sully, they decide to chart course back to K-23 where they have a chance to kickstart humanity again on a new planet, with their unborn son. In the process, they would be seen as the Adam and Eve on the new rise of human civilization.
Sully’s final transmission with Augustine gets cut, after there is no transmission from latter’s end.
George Clooney in The Midnight Sky
Having know that his daughter is safe, Augustine might have cut the transmission maybe to stop himself from revealing the truth of her parentage. Or he might have succumbed to his disease and passed away.
So What Happened to Earth?
While the exact reason is not clarified, the rise of radiation levels to the point of life termination is hinted as the reason for being the doom of the planet. It is a man-made calamity, which is why Augustine apologises to Sully for not doing much to save the planet. Since pole regions are pollution-free, is why the radiation is late to reach there, leaving Augustine as a lone survivor, along with some wolves.
A still from The Midnight Sky
The rise of radiation shouldn’t have come up as a shock for the crew of Aether, as the reason for NASA to send so many manned ship to find hospitable planets is that we already knew the eventual fate. Only it came much before than anticipated. There is also a possibility that the disease that Augustine is suffering from could be radiation poisoning.
(The above story first appeared on Onhike on Dec 23, 2020 09:12 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website onhike.com).