Skip to main content
FilmFilm Reviews

‘A Million Miles Away’ review: One giant leap for Michael Peña

By September 15, 2023No Comments3 min read
A Million Miles Away

This piece was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labor of the writers and actors currently on strike, the movie being covered here wouldn’t exist.

One age-old cliché in Hollywood is the retelling of a true story about an underdog with an impossible dream that’s fulfilled by the end of the movie. The formula tends to have an unoriginal, monotonous quality that imposes a lack of interest in the overall narrative. A Million Miles Away has one thing that sets itself lengths apart from such biographical dramas: Michael Peña!

Peña stars as migrant farmer-turned-astronaut, José Hernández in Prime Video’s latest, A Million Miles Away. The film, directed by Alejandra Márquez Abella, tells the real-life story of the NASA flight engineer who spent his entire childhood working with his parents and siblings harvesting crops on fields across California.

“What are stars for?”

Though travel outside of farming areas in California or the rural village in his family’s home state of Michoacán, Mexico didn’t seem plausible, Hernández’s interplanetary curiosity began to sprout at a young age. An early scene in the movie shows a youthful Hernández ask his teacher, “What are stars for?” Accordingly, the beginnings of a sharp mind who had the potential to accomplish something huge was sparked.

A Million Miles Away deviates from the norm as soon as a college-aged Hernández enters the screen. From the moment Peña is introduced, the story is immediately authentic and without pretension. In some ways, it’s as if he channeled Luis from Ant-Man and Kiki Camarena from Narcos: Mexico to fuse them into one character specifically for this role.

The struggle to succeed

While the plot of the film is fairly conventional, it generates intense emotion sheerly from the depth of the performances. Rosa Salazar (Alita: Battle Angel) portrays Hernández’s wife Adela and does so in a way that makes it her story almost as much as his.

© 2023 Amazon Content Services LLC

Highlighting the loving relationship between Adela and José in addition to the concern-turned-support from Hernández’s large family also speaks to the nature of Latin American culture in a successful way. Writers, Bettina Gilois, Hernán Jiménez, and Alejandra Márquez Abella clearly took care in crafting this story so as not to diminish the homogeneity within Hernández’s individuality.

This biopic is a true testament to never giving up on any dream, no matter how impossible it may seem. A genuinely inspirational story that audiences will find comfort in.

A Million Miles Away is available on Prime Video starting September 15, 2023. Watch the trailer here.

Featured Image Courtesy of Amazon Prime Video

  • Rating - 7.5/10
Alyshia Kelly

Alyshia is the Interviews Editor for InBetweenDrafts. A self-proclaimed pop culture enthusiast, she watches B-movies in her spare time and hopes to make one some day. Apart from writing, she does freelance publicity and is fully immersed in the world of entertainment.

No Comments

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: