Astronaut’s Wife, The: Starring Johnny Depp and Charlize Theron

The Astronaut’s Wife, a sci-fi thriller directed and written by Rand Ravich, is not helped by its appealing stars, Johnny Dep and Charlize Theron, both of whom are misdirected or altogether miscast.

While on a space-walking mission, Spencer Armacost (Depp), a NASA astronaut, and fellow astronaut Alex Streck, experience an explosion from a satellite which results in a communication loss for two minutes between the astronauts and Earth.

After returning to their respective spouses, the two astronauts never speak about their ordeal. Streck grows increasingly agitated and bleeds to death during a party. His death is ruled as “a severe insult to the brain”, or a stroke, by NASA. While still in mourning for her lost husband, Streck’s wife experiences delusions telling Spencer’s wife Jillian (Theron) that her husband had been listening to “them” on the radio, but was now “inside” her. She commits suicide by holding a radio while sitting in a running shower.

Spencer retires from NASA and takes an executive position in New York for a company called McClaren. Jillian questions him about what happened during the time they lost contact. He answers with a vivid description, but displays a suspicious change in personality and becomes very aggressive during their subsequent sex. Jillian soon becomes pregnant with twins.

Spencer and a co-worker describe a new aircraft their company is developing that can turn off all other machines, rendering modern warfare obsolete.

A former NASA employee, Sherman Reese (Joe Morton) , tells Jillian that Spencer’s medical data (including his signature) is not the same as before the accident, that Streck’s wife had been pregnant, and that Spencer is not her husband. Jillian doesn’t believe Reese (noting that he had been fired for what appeared to be psychotic behavior), but finds she cannot get herself to let go of Reese’s statements.

Jillian calls Reese and learns that Streck’s wife had also been pregnant with twins. Jillian makes arrangements to meet Reese to learn more, but Reese runs into and is led away by Spencer. Jillian is unable to get in touch with Reese again, but discovers that he left a note leading her to a VHS video tape. The tape showing evidence of an alien audio signal that, he postulates, was used by aliens to beam themselves into the bodies of the unsuspecting Spencer and Streck, and that the twin babies she’s carrying are likely intended to be “Twin-Computers” meant to fly McClaren’s new aircraft.

Jillian dreams that Spencer had been possessed by an extraterrestrial and acquires medication that will cause her twins to be aborted. The twins, however, will not let her take the pills and summon Spencer, who assaults her in order to protect the twins, causing her to fall down the stairs. Jillian awakens in the hospital, and is greeted by Spencer, who tells her that nothing is going to happen to the twins.

In a dream, Jillian sees her sister killed by Spencer because she caught Spencer with Reese’s briefcase. Jillian leaves the hospital and attempts to evade Spencer to no avail since he can communicate with the twins. Back at home, Jillian finds her dead sister and floods the floor with water while holding a radio as Streck’s wife had done. Spencer arrives and admits that “he” (the alien) killed Spencer. Using telekinesis, he begins to move Jillian (who is sitting on a stool) out of the water, but is electrocuted by Jillian as she raises her feet out of the water. Spencer’s true alien form, a tentacled energy being, leaves Spencer’s body and transmits itself into Jillian stopping the electrocution.

Years later, Jillian has re-married and sends her twin sons off on their first day of school. Before they get on the bus, they offer a stern look at their mother, while she embraces their new step-father, a “non alien”. They then smile as Jillian assures the new step-father that he is their father now.

Dismissed by most critics, the movie was a commercial flop, grossing $10.6 million domestically and $8.9 million in foreign markets, bringing its total box office gross to $19.6 million.


Johnny Depp as Commander Spencer Armacost

Charlize Theron as Jillian Armacost

Joe Morton as Sherman Reese, NASA Representative

Clea DuVall as Nan

Donna Murphy as Natalie Streck

Nick Cassavetes as Capt. Alex Streck

Samantha Eggar as Dr. Patraba

Gary Grubbs as NASA Director

Blair Brown as Shelly McLaren

Tom Noonan as Jackson McLaren