Brad Pitt's Ad Astra is a reminder of man's struggle to know God

Space fascinates me. It gets me philosophical. How could you look at the stars and not fall in love with wisdom! It sure explains why one of my favourite movies is "Interstellar". The imagery, music and theoretical concepts involved make it something I can watch over and over. So when I chanced upon a preview of the latest sci-fi starring Brad Pitt called "Ad Astra", I wanted to see it and it didn't disappoint.

Sitting in the V-max theatre on my own, I took it all in. The film is masterfully constructed to the point where I felt immersed in the silence and vastness of outer space itself, and it contained a few purposeful, very subtle, timed religious statements and prayers at different points. I couldn't help but imagine them as important metaphorical moments.

The story is of a father and a son. A heroic yet absent father searching for intelligent life in the heavens leaves a son behind who survives and excels in his work by compartmentalising his life and memories, allowing him to supress emotional attachments and distance present difficulties in order to achieve mission success.

The son, played by Brad Pitt, is given the chance to reach out to his presumed dead father. Once the journey commences, his mental fitness which is constantly monitored, begins to waver and slowly unravel. During his journey toward his father, the son must overcome his pre-conceptions of a father he only ever really knew from his own imagination and what others had told him about him.

Finally coming face to face with the man he thought he knew, the son meets a father entirely different from the one he imagined him to be. Sadly, he must cut the cord and let him go in order to survive. Once the cord is cut from his imaginations and false notions of his own father, the son sees clearly enough to begin cutting the cord from the false self he had developed and maintained all his life through a false narrative in his mind.

His striving and working to please someone he never really knew, and search for meaning in other worlds is replaced by the realization that the search for relationship with a distant father had detached him from the relationships he already had.

It reminds me of the gift of the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit, religion can only lead us on a quest for a Father who we don't really know.

Our heads are plagued by doubts concerning God. 'Is He good or bad?' 'Does He love us or is He trying to kill us?' 'Will we make Him proud by our efforts in case He sees us?' These are the futile thoughts of an abandoned son. We religiously evaluate ourselves but never to the point where we won't derail from the track we know.

When the Holy spirit comes, He reminds us of truth and of the love we eternally have. He gives us peace that we are not searching for a distant Father, but one who is with us, even in us. He cuts away all our illusions so that we may come back home to our origin.

A fellowship face to face with Father and Son, the place where we were conceived through the word of God, where love and life eternally exist. The Holy Ghost allows us to see the beauty in our search, but in the end reveals that there is no place like home, and His presence in our present is altogether satisfying. The Spirit of Truth is our memory of a life forgotten, face to face with our Father, and that is a thought worth contemplating.

Courtesy of Press Service International