The Astronaut's Wife (1999)
Main cast: Charlize Theron (Jillian Armacost) and Johnny Depp (Spencer Armacost)
Director: Rand Ravich

This movie has two wonderful thing going for it: Charlize Theron's surprisingly good acting and Johnny Depp's maniacal facial features. Its biggest downfall, however, is that after all its wonderful building up of tension and suspense, it deflates like a balloon poked with a pin halfway through and is totally a limpie by the ending. It also didn't help that when hubby and I set down to watch this, it was 2 am in the morning and we were rather tired. The slow pace finally set us off to Dreamland.

Spencer is an astronaut who goes off to space and experiences a strange "missing two minutes" accident up there. He returns but wifey Jillian senses that he's... different. His fellow astronaut dies and the man's pregnant wife commits suicide soon after, leading Jillian to suspect something fishy abound. Worse, she soon finds herself pregnant. By a hubby who may not be her hubby. Who may not even be human!

Charlize Theron is wonderful. She manages to convey her fear and insecurities wonderfully well through her bright shining eyes and expressive face. I can't help but to feel for her. Isn't it many women's greatest fear - the loved one may turn out abusive, cruel, a total stranger? Johnny Depp has also the right face. He looks very handsome... and insane. I can't get his face out of my mind - he is perfect as the may-be-may-not-be psycho hubby. However, his acting is wooden and leaves little impact.

The script meanders, it really does. Much of the time goes to Jillian, but the director's attempt to spice things up with the usual underdog-suspects-the-worse-and-contact-wife-but-killed-by-hubby angle is uninspired. And the ending... after all the one hour plus of building up a story, only to lead to this limpie of a finale? What a cop-out! I've never felt this cheated since watching another limpie, Forces Of Nature.

What can I say? This movie has potential, but with direction that seems to go nowhere and a rather hollow ending, this one goes straight to the Missed Opportunity bin. At least in that really trashy, prospesterous, misogynistic Species and Species II (now THIS is bad!), I get to laugh at the bad storyline. The Astronaut's Wife goes the serious thriller path and ends up nowhere.

Rating: 45

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