Young Writers Society

E - Everyone

Movie Review Essay on "October Sky" (w/ bibliography)

by looseleaf

(A/N: This was written in December of 2018, so it is pretty old and not as well written as my newer essays. I just am slow in posting my novel and I felt bad about it! Despite how terribly written this is, feel free to review.)


October Sky, directed by Joe Johnson, is one of the best movies of 1999. I am the senior movie critic at Movie Studios Review, the premier movie rating agency in America. For fifty years, Movie Studios Review has reviewed every major motion picture at the box office. October Sky involves one young man's quest to follow his dreams and escape his small town. October Sky is a thoughtfully-told and well-acted coming of age story which is an inspiring movie for people of all ages.

Characters of October Sky

October Sky has many interesting characters that are portrayed by amazing actors. The protagonist of this movie is Homer Hickam. Homer is played by Jake Gyllenhaal, who has starred in movies such as Zodiac and City Slickers. Homer is a normal teenager who loves football, but is not a star on the team. Although his father is a coal miner, he has no interest spending his life in the mines. When he sees the Sputnik 1 orbit the earth, he becomes fascinated with rocket science. The Sputnik was the first man-made artificial satellite to be launched into space by the Soviet Union. Homer’s dad, deftly played by Chris Cooper of Seabiscuit fame, initially does not approve of his son’s rocket obsession, but his mom, played by Natalie Canerday, is very supportive of her son’s rocket building. Cooper gives a powerful performance as a father struggling with accepting his son’s dream to do something different. Miss Riley (Laura Dern), Homer’s high school teacher, encourages him to never lose sight of his dreams. Chris Owen, William Lee Scott, and Chad Lindberg star as Homer’s closest friends who share a love of rocket science. Owens’s turn as Homer’s friend Quentin is an Oscar-worthy performance.

The Plot of the Movie

October Sky takes place during the 1950s in a working-class, coal mining town in West Virginia called Coalwood. The young people in Coalwood believe there is little chance to escape the town, unless they become one of the select few that get a sports scholarship. Homer and his friends desperately want to find a way out of Coalwood so that they do not have to spend a life in the mines. They are inspired by Sputnik and the space program to build rockets as a way to change their life path. The movie is named for the night in October when they see Sputnik pass over their town. The young protagonist and his friends are helped by a supportive group of neighbors and teachers, including Miss Riley. Nonetheless, Homer and his friends face many obstacles in their quest to prove they can be more than a coal miner, including near destruction of a neighboring town.

Movie Studios Review Rating

October Sky is one of the best movies of the year and is solidly a nine on Movie Review Studios’ rating scale. The movie and its actors have already received many accolades, having been nominated for fifteen awards. Jake Gyllenhaal was nominated for and won the Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Breakout Star for his role in this movie. From the first scene where Homer is staring at Sputnik fly through the night sky, to the heartwarming ending, the movie will keep audiences young and old alike glued to the screen.


This movie is a spectacular film that has been nominated for many awards. Joe Johnston artfully brings the story of one boy in small town America to the big screen. October Sky has it all: wonderful acting, a beautiful story, and a message that resonates with all ages. Audiences can relate to its message of one young person’s struggle with finding his true identity. October Sky is a reason for all people to go to the theaters this holiday season.

632 Words

Annotated Bibliography

Secondary Source


Rotten Tomatoes Editors. Rotten Tomatoes, Rotten Tomatoes, 2018. Google, Accessed 15 Dec. 2018.

This website is owned by Rotten Tomatoes and was a great website that helped me out a lot.The Rotten Tomatoes website was a very good website to learn what other people thought about the movie I was doing a review on. It also taught me what actors played in October Sky. Overall, this website helped me very much. Editors. October Sky, Wikipedia, 9 Dec. 2018. Google, Accessed 17 Dec. 2018

The website Wikipedia had many good facts on it’s webpage about October Sky. It is owned by Wikipedia, and was last updated on December 9, 2018. This website helped me get the names of the actors in the movie and what other movies they played in. This webpage had even more facts on the film that I didn’t use, which other people could use on their essay. This webpage is a very good one to use.

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Is this a review?



User avatar
5 Reviews

Points: 256
Reviews: 5

Wed Dec 07, 2022 8:22 pm
YesChef wrote a review...

Hello queen.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this essay. It fills me with a sense of nostalgia. It made me feel as though I am watching this movie in a dimly lit room, perhaps, a 6th grade classroom. Around me, there are plenty of opinions floating through the air about the film that is playing on the projector.

I can tell you liked this movie. You seem like you really love history! This is a trait I admire.

I am shocked you wrote this in 2018! This essay seems extremely professional and well put together. It could win a Pulitzer prize!

The annotations are also wonderful. I admire someone who knows how to put together an annotated bibliography :).

Overall, this essay was wonderful. Question, what are your thoughts on Jake in this movie? I personally thought he was kinda cute. But I'd love to hear what you have to say, as you seem to have wonderful taste.


looseleaf says...


User avatar
232 Reviews

Points: 4778
Reviews: 232

Thu Jun 25, 2020 3:03 am
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LadyBug wrote a review...

Hi Lz, I'm here to leave you a review on your essay. I love movies so I really enjoyed reading this!

The only thing I would change is this line, October Sky involves one young man's quest to follow his dreams and escape his small town. It's very passive compared to the rest

Something along the lines of, "the movie follows a young man's quest" would flow better and be less wordy.

In the second paragraph, The Sputnik was the first man-made artificial satellite to be launched into space by the Soviet Union. the transition feels forced and happens rather quickly, adding in another sentence or using a semi colon instead would definitely make it clearer. The review is very engaging so far, though!

While I have nothing particular to critique for the third paragraph, your sentences are very short and jump from topic to topic, making it a bit hard to follow along. The fourth one, solidly a nine would benefit from a change. A firm nine sounds more professional. This one is informative, though a bit dry.Varying your sentences a bit may help with that, but it still is engaging!

The conclusion is a well-written summary, which is hard to do! I have no critiques there, as it flowed and didn't drag on or restate facts in a boring way.

Overall, this was pretty well-written and interesting, I really enjoyed it!


looseleaf says...

Thanks for the lovely review! I appreciate it!

User avatar
174 Reviews

Points: 3050
Reviews: 174

Thu Jun 25, 2020 1:55 am
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JesseWrites wrote a review...

Hiya, I came on for a bit and I got bored, so I decided to review something.

Here it goes, but just know that am totally lost reviewing because it's been a very long time since I did this.

First, this is fun to read. It's educational, and looks from a first glance as well done. It seems to be written in a professional manner, which is great because it doesn't look like it's been rushed or scrapped together.

The way you broke up the different sections looks less than ideal. It's just there and I would suggest something to make it stand out. It looks a little crammed in and forgotten, which I doubt is the plan.

I am really clueless about the topic of this, so excuse me if I miss the point. From what I've seen on Google, this looks like it's correct, but I'd be careful using Wikipedia as it can sometimes be false. Well, that's what my teachers say, so i hope they're right.

Although his father is a coal miner, he has no interest spending his life in the mines.

I don't know, but I personally think that 'interest in spending' sounds more professional. I think both could work, but the one you have seems like a casual thing.

Also, for the Rotten Tomatoes website, the period between the first two sentences should be spaced after. It looks cramped.

That's all I have.
Have a good day,

looseleaf says...

Thanks for the review! I appreciate it!

[while trapped in a bucket of popcorn] You know what the worst part is? It's not even butter. We're gonna be destroyed by... ARTIFICIAL FLAVORING!
— Blake Bradley, Power Rangers Ninja Storm