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October Sky Movie Review

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October Sky Film Review

October Sky was a pretty solid movie with strong characterization and plot and did its heartwarming story justice. The movie is based on the book October Sky, a memoir by Homer Hickam, recounting the tales of him and his friends from the mining town of Coalwood, West Virginia, building rockets during high school to go on to win the national science fair in Indianapolis. The story begins with Homer seeing Dr. Wernher von Braun and his work with rockets on T.V. and He gets the idea to make and launch his own rockets. He gets inspiration more and more people in Coalwood for his rockets. As he maximizes simpler designs he has to use more sophisticated tools, materials, and techniques. He gets help from the town machinists making his “higher tech” models in the midst of a company versus union battle that makes it harder and harder to get his materials. His favorite and most influential teacher Ms. Riley encourages Homer to enter the regional science fair and after some ups and downs the rocket boys win the regional fair and go on to win state, sending them to the National Science Fair in Indianapolis. In Indianapolis, Homer forgot to lock up his display rocket parts and they were stolen, so he calls home to ask for them to send another set. At this point the union in Coalwood has gone on strike and they can’t access the machinery shop to make his new parts, but the town ends up reuniting for Homer’s sake and end the strike eventually helping him win the National Science fair. After all this work and doubt Homer has finally proved to himself and his town that he is not a miner, he will go on to be something bigger, but one person still seems to remain un-supportive. Homer’s father never showed any real support for the rockets, never went to any of his test launches, but at the end he shows up to their final, celebratory launch and he finally shows pride in what his son has accomplished.

What I learned from this film was that there will always be challenges in life big and small that you have to beat to find your place. There will be people trying to bring you down, but in the end you have to do your best at proving them wrong.

Two key events during the film that reflected on historical developments of the time period were the scene when Coalwood stands staring up at the sky looking to spot the Russian satellite Sputnik in the night sky, and when the principal

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