An incredible space movie is currently topping the charts on Amazon, and you’ve probably never heard of it. A Million Miles Away is the true story of the first-ever Mexican-American astronaut, José Moreno Hernández, and the awe-inspiring journey he faced to pursue his dreams. According to FlixPatrol, the true tale of a man who went from farmhand to astronaut is streaming at number one on Amazon Prime.
A Million Miles Away, starring Michael Pena, is based on a true story, and it’s currently the top movie on Amazon Prime.
A Million Miles Away is a captivating film following the remarkable life of José M. Hernández, the first Mexican-American astronaut. Directed by Alejandra Marquez Abella and released in 2023, this American biographical drama offers viewers an intimate look into Hernández’s life, struggles, and ultimate triumphs.
The film transports viewers back to the late 1960s and 70s, where José, played by Michael Pena in A Million Miles Away, is a young boy accompanying his family on their journey from Michoacán, Mexico, to California, where they work as migrant grape pickers. With dreams of buying a house back home, José’s parents hope to save enough money through their seasonal work. However, José’s potential is recognized by his teacher, Ms. Young, who becomes concerned about the disruption to his education due to their migrant lifestyle.
Flash forward to years later, and José has graduated from the University of the Pacific. A Million Miles Away follows him as he begins working as an engineer at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. During this period, he meets Adela, portrayed by Rosa Salazar, and embarks on a romance that leads to marriage and the birth of five children.
A turning point in José’s life occurs when his boss offers him an opportunity to join a team evaluating a shipment of enriched uranium for NASA in Russia. A Million Miles Away showcases how the opportunity could significantly boost his chances of joining the NASA space program. After multiple rejections, he personally delivers his twelfth application to Frederick Sturckow, a veteran astronaut and trainer. Impressed by José’s determination, Sturckow accepts him into the program.
The success of A Million Miles Away proves there’s still a market for a well-done, heart-felt character drama.
José’s journey through astronaut training is fraught with challenges, causing him to fall behind his classmates. As A Million Miles Away unfolds, viewers are drawn into José’s struggle, witnessing his evolution from trainee to standout at NASA. Ultimately, in 2008, José was selected as the Mission Specialist for STS-128, achieving his dream of becoming an astronaut.
A Million Miles Away boasts a talented ensemble cast that brings José M. Hernández’s life story to the screen. Michael Pena, who is known for playing Paco Hernandez and Sheik Abdullah in American Hustle and Luis in Ant-Man, shines as the film’s star, José M. Hernández. Garret Dillahunt, known for Twelve Years A Slave and Deadwood, joins the cast as Frederick W. Sturckow.
Rosa Salazar plays José’s wife, Adela Hernández. Bobby Soto, Julio César Cedillo, Verónica Falcón, Sarayu Blue, Eric Johnson, Jordan Dean, Ashley Ciarra, and Michelle Krusiec also join the A Million Miles Away cast.
The distribution rights for A Million Miles Away were snatched up in July 2022 by Amazon Studios, and the production was filmed the same year in Mexico City. The film was released on September 15, and it quickly acquired the number-one placement on Prime Video within the first week.
The film has received positive reviews from critics so far. On Rotten Tomatoes, it holds an 89 percent approval rating, with critics praising the lead performances and the avoidance of heavy-handed gimmicks. Metacritic assigned the film a score of 62 out of 100, indicating “generally favorable reviews.” The New York Times lauds the film for its beautiful cinematography and touching family moments, though it notes occasional heavy-handedness in the storytelling.
A Million Miles Away is more than just a biographical film; it’s a testament to the resilience, determination, and unwavering pursuit of dreams.
While A Million Miles Away mostly showcases the heartwarming story of how Hernández became the first Mexican-American astronaut, Hernández has continued to live an incredible life. Beyond his astronaut career, Hernández has made significant contributions as chief of the Materials and Processes branch of Johnson Space Center. Additionally, he developed equipment for full-field digital mammography at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
A Million Miles Away is more than just a biographical film; it’s a testament to the resilience, determination, and unwavering pursuit of dreams. Through stellar performances and a heartfelt narrative, the movie pays tribute to José M. Hernández’s incredible journey from a migrant worker’s son to a space explorer. As audiences are captivated by his story on the screen, Hernández continues to inspire future generations to reach for the stars, just as he did.