Solaris is the second film version of Stanislaw Lem’s philosophical sci-fi novel. Chris Kelvin (George Clooney) is a psychologist still mourning the loss of his wife Rheya (Natascha McElhone) is sent to investigate the crew of a space station orbiting an alien planet that has stopped communications. By the time Kelvin gets there, he interrogates crew Snow (Jeremy Davies) and Gordon (Viola Davis) and he learns that they’ve had unwanted “visitors,” delusions of loved ones who are apparently being generated by the interstellar energy source Solaris. At first, Kelvin is skeptical of their claims until one night he, too, is greeted by his late wife Rheya.

Phenomenal character-driven performances from George Clooney and Natascha McElhone. Clooney and McElhone work well together and share great chemistry. Solid performances from supporting cast Jeremy Davies and Viola Davis.

From writer and director Steven Soderbergh (Out of Sight, Traffic) has made a mix of science fiction and metaphysical love story. Solaris could’ve been better plot-wise. The film felt more of a love story than a sci-fi. The storyline and editing were choppy. It felt rushed as it was too short and needed to be longer.

Great production design by Philip Messina. The sets remind you of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Despite its story flaws, Solaris may not be a perfect sci-fi film but it’s pretty good. The film draws you in with George Clooney and Natascha McElhone’s characters emotional love story. Engaging, powerful and thought-provoking that leaves a lasting impression.

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars