By CLARA FOX
There are days when you want to stop the world and let yourself off. But if you just saw “The Martian” starring Matt Damon, you may see the benefits of keeping both feet firmly on Earth.
Mark Watney (Damon), the world’s favorite space pirate, fights for life and sanity on Mars. With only a recording device to talk to for most of the film, he slowly wonders if he will starve to death after finding that food is hard to grow on a hostile planet even if you’re a trained botanist.
In a moment of desperation, Watney dips his microwaved potatoes in Vicodin. It was a bad day. He hasn’t tasted ketchup for a week. And no one is there to stop him.
If life all alone is tough, it’s also tough for the world to watch his loneliness. Despite the practical reasons to leave him on Mars, people on earth can’t stomach the idea of letting a man rot on another planet—even if it means spending billions of dollars and risking lives to rescue him.
As I watched the movie, I wondered: Maybe I’m also worth that much. Maybe the world that has so many problems would stop spinning just to help me out.
In addition to its message of hope, “The Martian” will also give you a newfound respect for duct tape, plastic tarp and aerodynamic soundness when it comes to spaceships.
Mark faces death while never failing to find the humor in every situation. He accepts the dangers of space exploration while remaining eminently human—crying, cursing and passing out as he fights heroically for another chance at life.
And that’s the movie: one man reaching out to the world and the world (minus a few bureaucrats, but we hate them anyway) reaching out to him. Everyone matters. Earth may not be much, but it’s home.
Clara Fox is a part-time reporter and full-time movie lover who works in the film industry and lives it up in L.A. You will likely find her at a first-weekend showing for the latest Chris Pine movie.