At the start of the film, there’s a girl watching a meteor fly through the sky. But the visual effects do not accurately represent how a meteor flies through space. At this moment, I thought to myself, “Oh. This movie isn’t supposed to be a realistic portrayal of life, rather the necessary setting required to tell the story.” The meteor is like saying, “Once upon a time…”
The movie is set in rural Georgia in 1977 and the movie gets a lot of cultural things wrong for this time and place, but I want to make it clear that the specific details are not important. Many things won’t be accurate and if you can accept the inaccuracies, you will love the story being told.
What's it about? Troop Zero tells the story of a young girl who loves space and forms a small scout troop in order to enter a scout competition. The winner gets to record a message on the golden record being sent to space on the Voyager spacecraft (an actual event).
But that’s just the necessary setting.
Troop Zero is about Christmas Flint, a weird girl and her misfit friends fighting the
status quo and learning to unapologetically be themselves.
It’s about a girl who wants something so desperately and will not compromise the person that she is in order to get it.
The two adult protagonists are played by Jim Gaffigan and Viola Davis and each of their characters are amazing and trope-busting.
Jim Gaffigan plays Christmas’s father, and works as a struggling, small-time law practitioner. If this movie were made by a big studio, I feel like his character would be gruff, mean, and dismissive of his daughter. But instead, he’s kind and supportive of his daughter, with all her quirks.
Viola Davis’s character, Miss Rayleen, works as Gaffigan’s assistant and is asked to be the troop leader. Where you would expect an inspiring character who leads, motivates, and uplifts the main character, you get instead a woman who’s been beaten down by the world and tells it like it is. She wants to see these kids succeed, but also wants to keep them from getting let down. I distinctly remember a scene where she tells the main character that she should give up and that “The way life is right now, is how it’s always gonna be.” Earlier in the movie, however, Rayleen told Christmas “You can’t stay down just because they told you to.” And it’s this contrast that I feel gives Christmas the motivation to continue.
Should I watch it? Watching this movie, I remembered being a young kid, going through struggles, laughing with my friends, and chasing my dreams. This movie brilliantly captures all of that. I whole-heartedly give this movie a 4 out of 4 stars (one star for every time I cried during the movie).