Review: ‘Over The Moon’ tackles mature topics, disappoints through execution


Makayla Archambeault

The Netflix Original movie, Over the Moon, was released on Oct. 16, 2020. The movie received an 80% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 6.5/10 from IMDb.

Caoimhe Farris, Staff Reporter

*This review contains spoilers for Over the Moon.

The Netflix Original: Over the Moon, directed by Glen Keane, follows Fei Fei, played by Cathy Ang, on her journey to prove the existence of the Moon Goddess Chang’e, played by Philipa Soo, to her father. Fei Fei’s ultimate goal throughout her journey and the movie is to prove to him that love is forever and to convince him to wait for her late mother and not remarry. 

As a child, Fei Fei would listen to her mother’s stories about Chang’e, who took an immorality pill, was separated from the man she loved and lives on the moon as she waits for her husband. Fei Fei’s mother becomes terminally ill and dies when Fei Fei is about nine years old, after giving her a stuffed animal named Bungee. At 14, Fei Fei does not get along with her father’s new girlfriend and certainly does not get along with her soon to be stepbrother. Her task to prove that love is worth waiting for becomes apparent as she builds a rocket ship to send herself to the moon.

This movie is definitely a tear-jerker and will tug at the heartstrings of anyone whose family has lost a parent, or whose parents have gone through a divorce. This story tackles some very real elements while also using sweeter fantasy elements as a pillow to cry on during the truly depressing parts. 

Though this movie dives headfirst into tackling some heavy themes, it was not executed properly, and to be completely frank, plot-wise, could have been one thousand times better. There’s no explanation for why Fei Fei believes so strongly in the moon goddess or how she is intelligent enough to build a working spaceship to send herself to the moon with herself and her brother.

The film explores in-depth how she feels about her brother, which ends up boiling down to her just getting used to his annoying nature. Contrastingly, her relationship with her new stepmother isn’t explored as much as it felt like it should have been. She shares with her a bit about her culture and how her family does things differently, which introduces the conflict of Fei Fei’s disliking of change, but the movie barely continues with this theme. 

Another issue is presented when Chang’e is struggling with the loss of her husband. She is willing to push down anyone in her way to get her husband back, which leads her to make a deal with Fei Fei to trade her gift for a photo of the two.

When Fei Fei finally got her the gift she was asking for, for no reason, Chang’e ripped up the photo and didn’t hold up her end of the bargain. Her character was very stubborn throughout the movie and her motives were unclear. She really had no reason and no benefit to ripping up the photo. It wasn’t as though she was trying to keep her existence a secret, she was just being rude. 

Despite the plotholes, the animation was very impressive and the art style was cute and true to the culture it was representing. The proportions were a little exaggerated, although not consistently, throughout the movie. However, this was likely utilized to easily point out the main character and to emphasize her importance within the movie, which makes it easy to look over. The stylization was beautiful and the colors in settings like the moon and the garden Fei Fei runs to by the bridge in her hometown were absolutely gorgeous. 

The prominent themes of the movie: grief, loss of a loved one and coming to terms with change in one’s life, were really great and important to cover in movies with lively atmospheres. Real, hard-hitting, topics like these are not as uncommon as some might like to believe. Learning to grieve in a healthy way is an important lesson to teach through a lens of entertainment as Over the Moon demonstrated.

To view the trailer for Over the Moon, click here.