ByPaul Donovan, writer at
A jerk with an opinion. An explorer of transgressive cinema. See more things about movies at
Paul Donovan

This curious movie is curious. It's a strangely compelling genre-bending tale. Here are nine reasons why you may want to take the Midnight Special

Its tone

This is a calm and quiet tale about a possible world-ending event.

The mix of story elements

It's about a boy on the run with his dad, as they are being chased by both the government and religious cultists.

You need to figure out the story for yourself

The movie just begins right in the middle of things, and drips information into your brain every few minutes. But for every piece of the puzzle you get, the more pieces you realize are missing.

The mysterious nature of the boy

As the boy continues his journey, you flip through the possibilities of what he is. Is he an alien? A government weapon? An angel? A harbinger of the Apocalypse? Does he need to join the X-Men? Or maybe Hogwarts? Or a good exorcist? Where you land on this issue may not be what the next person decides.

You can forgive the story stumbles

There are definite plot holes in the movie. But given how weird the story is, I don't even think it's possible to explain everything.

The awesome acting

All the actors in this movie are terrific. There's not one weak performance in the whole cast. Jaeden Lieberher kind of freaked me out as the kid Alton. He has this creepy calm about him. Unless he's having creepy violent fits.

Its refusal to explain everything

The movie doesn't answer all the questions it raises, which some people will really appreciate. But it will really frustrate other viewers. I mean, some people will hate the movie for not not accounting for everything (at the very end of the movie is a hint of an answer to the biggest question I had, but it's placed in such a way that I almost missed it).

The sly references to other genre films

The movie contains some scenes that are clever reversals of other sci-fi movies. These provide subconscious hints about possible interpretations of the movie.

The way it makes you feel

This unlikely mix of science-fiction, drama, and religion has a sort of ethereal grace to it. It's confusing and beautiful and happy and sad. Kind of like life.



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