Movie Review: GRAVITY

 grav·i·ty  (grv-t)

n.

1. Physics

a. The natural force of attraction exerted by a celestial body, such as Earth, upon objects at or near its surface, tending to draw them toward the center of the body.
b. The natural force of attraction between any two massive bodies, which is directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them.
c. Gravitation.
2. Grave consequence; seriousness or importance: They are still quite unaware of the gravity of their problems.
3. Solemnity or dignity of manner.

I wondered about the title–but there you have it.

This is a movie that must be seen, at least the first time, on the big screen–and the bigger the better. Seeing the visuals of the earth from space makes me long for a journey into space, but that’s not going to happen. I’d never pass the physical. So I’ll have to be content to be an amateur astronomer and enjoy the awe-inspiring view from the eyes of filmmakers.

Gravity has only two actors, Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, onscreen, and three voice actors at the beginning, including Ed Harris (Apollo 13). The story opens high above the earth, where the crew of the fictional shuttle Explorer is attempting to make repairs to the Hubble Telescope. Clooney is cocky mission commander Matt Kowalski, joking about being out to break the space walk record, while Bullock’s character, Ryan Stone, is a medical engineer, a first-time astronaut suffering from severe anxiety.

In the middle of their space walk, the crew receives an emergency transmission from Mission Control. A Russian satellite has exploded, and the remnants are headed their way. They’re ordered to abort the mission–but it’s already too late. When the debris hits the shuttle, it’s also destroyed. Kowalski and Ryan–the only surviving crew members–are stranded in space.

With Kowalski leading, the two of them make their way toward the International Space Station, where a Russian Soyuz capsule is docked. The plan is to board it and head for home…but it’s also been hit by the satellite remnants. The pair are running out of options…and oxygen. They have one last chance to survive in the most hostile environment imaginable and make their way home.

Ryan–who says she was so named because her father wanted a boy–is a woman who doesn’t feel she has much to live for. As Kowalski tries to engage her in conversation, she reveals that she had a daughter who died after a head injury “She hit her head, and that was it”). I found it a little puzzling that her commander didn’t already know this–don’t astronauts get to know each other pretty well during their mission preparation? Though noted astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson found several flaws in the film, for me, the flaws are minor and did not detract from my enjoyment of it.

The earth from space and George Clooney–come on, the view doesn’t get any better than that!

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26 responses

  1. I just saw it too! I enjoyed it as well…and terrific review, Norma! (Have you seen the director's other films? I've enjoyed his work, but his movies are all quite different from one another…makes me wonder what's up his sleeve for the next!:)

  2. I hate getting stuck behind women with big hair, couples who talk too much, and–my personal gripe–people with small children who are all over everything.

    Needless to say, we go to matinees!

  3. It's a great movie–I'm not surprised it's #1 at the box office for a third consecutive week. Though it's set in space, it's not a sci-fi movie. It's a drama, a survival tale that just happens to take place off the planet.

  4. Excellent review, though I can't stand the thought of this movie. I have a major fear or big open spaces. The only thing more frightening to me than the idea of being lost at sea would be being stranded in space!! Just seeing the commercial makes me super anxious. It's silly, I know.

  5. I'm hoping that pesky squirrel out front isn't a sign of the winter ahead–he's so fat he can hardly move! (He and I have a love/hate relationship–I love my tulip bulbs, too!)

  6. I agree 100%, Norma–Gravity MUST be seen on a large stage (at least initially) to truly take in how gorgeous the movie is. And don't be fooled by the previews, it's a thriller! This isn't Sandra and George floating listlessly through space for 2 hours, I was biting my hands the entire time. 🙂

  7. Yep I loved it! The most tranquil intensity I've ever experienced. lol
    Sandra was stupendous! Big bravo to her. I was so excited when she reached land again. 🙂
    Only thing I had issue with was how she could read all the different languages on the manuals: Chinese, Russian. I guess we were to assume she could go by pictures alone, or that she was multi-lingual.

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