For those living in the year 2257, it’s the ultimate paradise, the final destination for humanity.
For Caleb, it’s the last place he ever wants to be.
Unfortunately, it’s not up to him.
See, Caleb’s the son of two lunar miners. His parents left Earth after signing 20-year contracts to mine the fuel needed to get ships to Omega. After that, they were promised a spot on one of those ships to the paradisiacal planet.
What the contract didn’t say was that every time you caught a cold, showed up late to a shift or delayed production in any way, they’d add time to your contract. And if you were unable to fulfill your obligations before the end of your life, any remaining time would be passed on to your family.
However, there was one exception to that rule: children under the age of 18 couldn’t inherit their parents’ contracts.
And sadly, that’s exactly what’s happened to Caleb. His mom became ill and passed away seven years ago. And now, his dad has passed, too, in a mining accident.
Caleb doesn’t want to leave the moon. He was born and raised here. His three best friends live here (and because of those contracts I mentioned before, will likely live here the rest of their lives).
But again, it’s not up to him.
So, Caleb decides that if he’s going to be forced to leave, he’s gonna go out with a bang.
According to Caleb’s dad, somewhere on the moon is a unique crater with a spectacular view. That crater was something Caleb’s mom always wanted Caleb to see.
Since his dad was never able to take him there, Caleb’s friends have volunteered to accompany him instead.
They steal the supplies they need, hotwire a Rover and set out on the road trip of a lifetime.
Caleb and his buddies, Dylan, Borney and Marcus, demonstrate true friendship. They care about each other deeply. When things get hard, they’re always there for each other. When one of them says something he shouldn’t, he apologizes and receives forgiveness. They act selflessly, and they risk their lives for each other.
The guys also befriend Addison, a teen girl who recently arrived from Earth with her wealthy father. Although skeptical at first, the boys accept Addison as one of their own. And it sparks a lifelong friendship built on trust and support.
When Caleb worries that he’s put his friends in unnecessary danger, they reassure him that they all made the decision to come on their own. And they thank him for the adventure, which inspires them the rest of their lives.
Parents act sacrificially to earn passage for their children to the planet Omega. We also hear about a woman who works to end the unfair mining contracts and help build a better lunar colony.
Caleb’s dad and friends talk about becoming “masters” of their own fates. Borney briefly talks about “space ghosts.”
Addison’s parents are divorced.
We see multiple near-death experiences. (One boy becomes untethered and floats off into space; another is hit in the head with a meteor; Marcus faints after missing a dose of his lifesaving medication; and all the kids nearly suffocate.)
Caleb wonders if the accident that killed his dad wasn’t an accident at all. (In the days prior, his dad had expressed anxiety that he wouldn’t be able to fulfill his contract before Caleb turned 18.)
Two of the boys argue and start shoving each other before their friends pull them apart. The kids wreck an abandoned model home. There’s a lot of physical horsing around. Addison educates the boys on World War I and II.
We hear singular uses each of “d–n,” “h—” and “p-ss.” God’s name is misused seven times. We hear the incomplete phrase, “What the … ?”
Marcus takes prescription medication.
We learn that the trip to Omega takes 75 years. Those who travel there are put into cryosleep. And although friends and family left behind can send messages to their loved ones during that time, most of them have passed away by the time that loved one arrives on the planet. With that context in mind, we learn about a divorced parent who selfishly took her son to Omega with her, leaving her daughter behind and preventing the girl or her father from ever seeing her brother again.
In addition to the unfairness of the mining contracts mentioned above, we also learn that a project to colonize the moon was abandoned after the discovery of Omega. Caleb and his friends become bitter when they realize how nice their lives could have been if humanity hadn’t been so selfish.
Caleb and his friends steal supplies and a lunar vehicle for their trip across the moon. (And we hear about other instances of theft.) Early on, someone makes some rude comments about people born on Earth. There’s some occasional bullying. A social worker seems unsympathetic to Caleb’s plight as a new orphan. Some insults are exchanged.
I’ve heard that if you want to test your friendship with someone, you should take a road trip together. There’s just something about spending multiple hours or even days in a confined space that really bonds you—or breaks you.
For Caleb and his friends, a lunar road trip isn’t just the adventure of a lifetime, it’s a lifelong bonding experience.
In Crater, we learn that a road trip isn’t about the destination, it’s about the journey. As clichéd as that sounds, the trip truly changes Caleb and his friends. The memories they make bond them for life. The experience inspires them to be different—to be better—than who they were before. And it prepares each of them for their futures.
Parents should be wary of some mild language and heavy themes. We hear about the harsh lives of miners, and there’s some speculation that a man took his own life. But the film’s positive messages about friendship and taking responsibility for your own life are worth sharing.
Emily studied film and writing when she was in college. And when she isn’t being way too competitive while playing board games, she enjoys food, sleep, and geeking out with her husband indulging in their “nerdoms,” which is the collective fan cultures of everything they love, such as Star Wars, Star Trek, Stargate and Lord of the Rings.