I really like it when I watch a film or television show that features places I have actually been to, especially when it reminds me of good times or events that I have always wanted to be a part of. For instance, when I see Big Ben on screen it reminds me of the trip my wife and I took to England or seeing the Johnson Space Center in Houston with the original Mission Control room alongside the vehicles, and exhibits, and facilities used in training the astronauts. That last one is actually featured in A Million Miles Away.
Directed by Alejandra Marquez Abella (The Good Girls), Michael Peña stars in this true story of Jose Hernandez, who has dreamed of being an astronaut since he was a child with his migrant worker parents. Miss Young (Michelle Krusiec) sees potential in Jose and works with his parents so Jose was able to get a quality education and follow his dream, and as we see him as a young adult, he continues that quest even after multiple rejections. It is his persistence that keeps him coming back until he is noticed by someone at NASA and gives him a shot.
I loved this film because it has the same kind of feel of Flamin’ Hot but is so much better. The soundtrack has some great songs with one in particular being a well-known classic that starts in Spanish and changes to English, which I thought was a pretty cool touch. From a visual standpoint, this is also on-point by balancing the work being done in the fields with that being done in an office nicely to complement the level of story needed at the time. This is also one of Michael Peña’s best performances, and he deserves to be recognized for it during awards season in a role that plays to his strengths of humility and that never-give-up attitude and a dash of comedy that was just outstanding.
If I have one minor gripe of A Million Miles Away, it would be its run time. At a solid two hours long, there is not much that could have been cut to really tell the story outside of just one or two details. The story is great and kept me interested, but it just felt a tad long. It definitely ran the gambit of emotions for me in all the right ways, and it seems odd that it is not getting a theatrical release in the grand scheme of things. If this film was released maybe one or two months later with that theatrical run, I feel like it would get more of the recognition that it deserves on the level that it may end up one of my favorites of the year. I am still going to recommend it as the coveted full-price in a theatrical run even though that is not really a thing, but I want to convey how much I truly enjoyed it!