Women & Power Film Review: Gravity

November 11, 2013

Space movies have been sparking the interest of audiences for years but one recent film is making quite an impression.  Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity had an explosive debut at the box-office and has been hailed for the inventive storyline and incredibly realistic visual effects.

At the center of this film is Dr. Ryan Stone, (masterfully portrayed by Sandra Bullock) a novice astronaut on her first space mission. After an uneventful (but nausea-inducing) week in space, the crew, which includes Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) is preparing for the journey home. Unfortunately, their shuttle is damaged beyond repair and they are left with few resources and no way to communicate with NASA. Bullock delivers a tour-de-force performance as a woman who, out of her element, must find the personal strength and determination to see her way through an extraordinarily challenging set of circumstances.  As the movie progresses, we learn a few things about this perfectionist. When Matt questions her parents’ decision to name her Ryan, she flatly explains “my father wanted a boy.”  Ouch. Gravity MovieLater, during a moment of great dispair, Matt tries to motivate her by asking about her life back on Earth. She reveals that she drives around alone after work listening to the radio because she doesn’t want to go home to her empty house - she has no husband and her daughter died in an accident at the age of four.  When she says that no one will mourn for her, the audience, much like Ryan herself, begins to wonder if she will even try to survive. With, seemingly, so little to live for… would she make it back to her home in Illinois? The remainder of the film really is a testament to both the resilience of the human spirit as well as the advances we’ve made in special effects.  We find ourselves identifying with Ryan as she races against time in a zero gravity environment trying to figure out how to overcome her lack of experience and a lukewarm will to live. Every moment of doubt, frustration and hope is a journey and Bullock takes her audience along for the ride. On a side note, the actress made a point of having her son with her on set with her at all times during production. In an industry that has had a history of punishing women for becoming mothers, Bullock made it known that she would be useless to the crew if she missed her little boy.  They found a way to make both mother and baby very happy and, in the process, pulled off an extraordinary film. By Jeanne Dupuis. Image Credit: http://tinyurl.com/lst8cjf

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