A curious alien (Jeff Bridges) responds to the Voyager spacecraft’s invitation to visit Earth, lands in Wisconsin and takes the form of Jenny Hayden’s (Karen Allen) late husband in this romantic road movie with a cosmic twist.
John Carpenter’s religious sci-fi parable has as much heart and emotion as it does special effects, and gives Oscar-nominated Bridges a real chance to stretch his acting talent as the extraterrestrial eager to learn about human existence.
Jenny and her alien embark on a journey through America and its iconography. Her visitor has three days to enjoy the offerings of the planet, and then head back home via a meteor crater in Arizona.
On the journey, he is introduced to the idiosyncratic ways of earthlings and to the peculiar benefits of their lives: love, sex, music, diversity and apple pie.
As the trip takes in Americana – hamburgers, handguns, diners, baseball caps, one-armed bandits, mobile homes, rednecks, hot rods and highways – the film makes a game attempt to present both a glimpse of the dark side of the dream and a hearty cheer for America.
Funny, suspenseful and moving – have those tissues ready for the heart-rending climax – this engaging space odyssey is one of Carpenter’s best efforts.
Charles Martin Smith
John Walter Davis