“Solaris” is among the most melancholy sci-fi movies ever made, which makes sense given its conception — Andrei Tarkovsky is said to have loathed “2001: A Space Odyssey” for being too cold and unfeeling, and so he sought to make something more humane. The result was as emotional as it was cerebral, and utterly haunting.
A new video essay from Jack’s Movie Reviews focuses on past and present in “Solaris,” arguing that the film’s protagonist, Kris, chooses to ignore his past while on earth — something he’s unable to do on the space station hovering above the semi-sentient ocean planet of the title. That manifests itself in the form of Hari, his deceased wife who appears with Kris on the space station; it isn’t his actual spouse, of course, and attempting to reconcile what’s real and what it isn’t slowly wears him down.
This doesn’t have a happy ending, though it initially seems like it might. Watch the full video below.