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Star Men

  • Film
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
Star Men

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

A documentary following four prominent British astronomers as they revisit their glory days in 1960s California

The 1960s were a golden age for astronomy. Spurred by the space race, American colleges paid generous salaries to scientists from around the world to work in their observatories and research labs. In California, five British stargazers would get together on weekends for road trips and hiking holidays in the Sierra Nevada and beyond. Fifty years later, four of them regroup in this dewy-eyed but exceedingly watchable documentary.

They’re an intellectually impressive bunch: Donald Lynden-Bell discovered the black holes at the centre of every galaxy; Roger Griffin’s ideas on spectrometry have led to the discovery of thousands of planets; Nick Woolf revolutionised lens-craft; and Wal Sergent found objective proof of the Big Bang. Today, they’re just as fired up about new discoveries as ever, and have a lovely time tooling around the West Coast admiring the landscape and gently bickering.

Director Alison Rose’s decision to involve herself in proceedings is a dubious one: her voiceover is so ponderous it sounds like she’s constantly on the verge of dozing off. But overall this is a gentle, enjoyable watch, and a respectful tribute to four remarkable minds.

Written by
Tom Huddleston

Release Details

  • Release date:Friday 20 November 2015
  • Duration:88 mins

Cast and crew

  • Director:Alison E. Rose
  • Screenwriter:Alison E. Rose
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