Director: Alfonso Cuaron
Key Actors: Sandra Bullock, George Clooney
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Synopsis: Ryan Stone is a medical engineer on her first trip in space. She is working with the seasoned Matt Kowalsky, played by George Clooney. During routine work and a space walk, disaster strikes, destroying their ship and killing everyone on board. They are left adrift in space with only each other to rely on.
Overall Rating: 2.5 Stars
Gravity is a film that stands on its own. To my knowledge, there isn’t another comparable film. For most of the movie, Sandra Bullock is alone. Literally, because she is alone in space where no one can pass by and say hello. The solitude and the 3D (this is the only 3D movie I’ve seen that warrants the effect) and the emotional turmoil of the viewer is out of this world (space humor alert!).
The premise of the plot can be seen as a bit implausible. But, it’s a movie for entertainment! So take that for all it’s worth.
Bechdel: Gravity fails the Bechdel Test completely. However, there are only three characters (SPOILER ALERT!) one of whom dies within the first few minutes of the movie. Sandra Bullock is the only primary character of the film. George Clooney’s character, while imperative, is a side character who dies shortly into the film, leaving Sandra Bullock alone for the rest of the movie.
While this film fails the Bechdel Test, because Gravity is almost a one-woman show, I don’t feel it should be held to that standard. It is also important to note, that the main character in this movie is female. Not only is this film a science fiction movie, a genre usually dominated by men, it is a film with only three characters, most of whom die shortly after the film starts. This movie has all the markings of a male-lead. And yet, despite pressure from his colleagues and from within himself, director Alfonso Cuaron cast a woman instead of a man. Here is Cuaron defending his choice: ‘Gravity’ Director Defends Casting Sandra Bullock After Pressure For A Male Lead.
Gravity is also interesting in the way Bullock’s character is depicted as a real character. She isn’t a love interest. She isn’t the bumbling flirt. She isn’t the brat. She’s a brilliant medical engineer (brilliant enough to be specially trained by NASA!) with a hardened exoskeleton, the result of the death of her daughter. She suffers the gamut of emotions from fear to hopelessness to determination.
My hope for this film is that after writers, directors, and studio executives see how successful this movie has been in the box office, they will realize that female leads who are in-depth characters are not a deterrent for movie-goers. After three weeks as the top box office hit, it is obvious that female characters can bring in the ever-coveted dollar (big surprise, right?).