Sci Fi Movies which best address daily life in space
March 24, 2020 9:11 PM   Subscribe

As I live out my quarantine I find myself reflecting upon those who live in solitary confinement of various sorts and my mind has gone to astronauts. Which movies best depict the various ways they find to entertain and enrich themselves?
posted by Jandoe to Media & Arts (13 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
If you're interested in the real thing NASA has put together a bunch of content about how they do it. Link
posted by bleep at 9:13 PM on March 24

2001: A Space Odyssey is classically great on this—long shots of Bowman, the astronaut, jogging around his gravity wheel, and such. Arthur C. Clarke's novelisation (written contemporaneously with the screenplay) goes even further into how Bowman entertains himself with, and then without, the assistance of the ship's computer.
posted by Fiasco da Gama at 9:28 PM on March 24 [2 favorites]

I really enjoyed this aspect of The Martian.
posted by escapepod at 11:03 PM on March 24 [8 favorites]

Silent Running
posted by zengargoyle at 11:13 PM on March 24 [10 favorites]

Seconding Silent Running.
posted by iamkimiam at 11:31 PM on March 24 [1 favorite]

posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 1:01 AM on March 25 [1 favorite]

Tarkovsky's Solyaris and the Soderberg/Cloondog remake Solaris both have a bit of this, but the supremely bizarre nature of the titular setting eventually intervene.

Passengers, the recent Chris Pratt/Jennifer Lawrence movie, has a good bit of this, but Pratt spends his isolation slowly moving from trying to solve his problem to losing his mind until he does something terrible to another, still-hibernating, passenger.

Moon is very much about this, a lone man and his robot companion who man a lunar mining station, cut off from Earth due to a communications failure.

There's a podcast called The Habitat which is a documentary about a crew of civilian volunteers who lived in a very remote simulation, on a Hawaiian volcano, of a simulated Mars habitat. They couldn't leave it without donning spacesuits, they had very limited communications from home with a very substantial delay (Mars is 14-26 minutes away from Earth, depending on relative positions), and so on. 6 people living in very tight quarters they could only rarely leave, with relatively few luxuries or personal items. The research project is called HI SEAS, and you can read about it here.

Submariners, and sub-aquatic and polar researchers are also isolated-- might be some good stuff there,at least until the enemy and/or aliens attack. Lighthouse Keepers as well: The Light Between Oceans or perhaps The Lighthouse
posted by Sunburnt at 1:17 AM on March 25 [7 favorites]

Europa Report
posted by fuse theorem at 6:37 AM on March 25

'Dark Star' (1974) is a more ironic take on this question, but it does address problems of boredom and cabin fever.
posted by ovvl at 7:58 AM on March 25 [3 favorites]

posted by Mchelly at 8:39 AM on March 25 [2 favorites]

Good suggestions above.

I Am Mother is worth a look. It's not quite solitary, but Red Dwarf is a fun (and absurd) take on living in isolation with roommates.

(If bending away from space and SF and into slow horror on the ground is of interest, Tunnel - the Korean one, not the Australian one - is pretty good.)
posted by eotvos at 8:54 AM on March 25

Aniara is great, but is super duper bleak. Something to keep in mind if you're looking for more hopeful films about long-term confinement.
posted by subocoyne at 1:32 PM on March 25

You might also enjoy this podcast: The Habitat, a true story about a crew of people at a facility in Hawaii trying to figure out what it would be like to live on Mars. It's really compelling.
posted by Mchelly at 3:05 PM on March 25

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