Gravity Soars

Gravity – Directed by Alfonso Cuaron; Written by Alfonso Cuaron and Jonas Cuaron; Starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney; PG-13 for intense situations

I don’t think I’ve ever been able to say this before, but I have never had a movie experience anything remotely like what Gravity provides. If only because it is the most purely cinematic non-animated movie ever made, Gravity deserves to go down in history. It is a thrilling piece in which the spectacle never stops, but because the spectacle is serving the story at every moment, the movie works. Visually gorgeous, packed with thrills and heart, Gravity is a thoroughly stunning achievement and ought to win Best Picture for the decade as far as I am concerned. If it doesn’t win for Sound Mixing and Editing, I will personally picket the Academy.

I say it is purely cinematic, because there aren’t a handful of minutes in the whole piece that could have been achieved in any other medium except cinema. This isn’t a story that could be told in any other way than on the screen, and that is a rare and wonderful thing.

I don’t want to say anything about the story because a huge part of the enjoyment of the piece is the non-stop reversals, and if I even start to tell you about the character’s wants and needs, I’ll have given away the inciting incident.Suffice it to say this is a brilliantly structured adventure story that allows the audience a thoroughly unique point of view. We saw it in IMAX 3D so that effect was rendered even more impressive.

The story does everything it’s supposed to in heaping greater and greater challenges on the main character played very effectively by an ever-aspirating Sandra Bullock. Once it launches, the beats never let up. It’s nothing if not a Triumph of the Human Spirit story, but it also surprises with a lovely little spiritual theme about the essential religious/immortal element of human beings.

Go see it and then write and tell me how much you enjoyed it. Probably not for small children as it is very intense in its thrills, but there is nothing problematic here at all in terms of sex or language. Super movie.

  • Christian LeBlanc

    Lovely trailer. The premise reminds me of Ray Bradbury’s Kaleidoscope.

  • Nordog6561

    So, Carl was right? ;-)

  • stpetric

    I’m looking forward to it. Your description, BTW, is entirely congruent with the way I’ve explained my own enthusiasm for “2001: A Space Odyssey”: It could only be a movie.

  • Bawsman

    I don’t know. I haven’t seen it, but it looks like it’s just about people falling into space and trying to grab onto things for the whole movie. :U

    • brnicolosi

      It is that. But much more too. It is an attempt to make you experience gravity and the lack of it.

      • Bawsman

        Eh, sounds like it would start to drag on after ten minutes.

        • brnicolosi

          Gravity doesn’t drag.

    • Scaevola

      It’s got some pretty crappy trailers, that’s for sure. I had no inclination to see this movie until hearing from friends and this blog post about how good it really is.

  • Keith R

    The sequence at the middle, starting with the icon, had me wanting to go back right away and watch it again. There was so much Grace in the movie, something entirely unexpected and a wonderful joy to see in film.

  • UniblabBR

    Opens here this Friday…

  • Hernán J. González
  • Clare Sera

    Hm. I am really surprised that you loved this. Maybe you were just so happy that it had an overtly spiritual element?? SPOILER ALERT: I could never make a film this beautifully, meticulously shot. SPOILER ALERT OVER. (haha) I went because I love space (I’ve worked for NASA!) and was looking forward to a slow, character based adventure/float through the Glorious Cosmos. But, wow, for me the character development felt incredibly weak and all the “metaphors” felt shoved in my face. In 3D no less. And over and over in case I didn’t get it the first time. Such on the nose writing. And Bullock was so… Bullock-y. And Clooney was Buzz Lightyear. I found myself feeling exactly the way I did watching Million Dollar Baby. Looking around at the full theatre and wanting to stand up and say, “Really? This emperor has no space suit.” But, there it is and I’m alone here, because you are absolutely in the majority. And that’s the beauty of film. And this film truly had some beautiful shots. But it’s definitely not one I’d take on the ISS with me. I can’t imagine it would warrant a second or third watch…

    • brnicolosi

      Wow, not sure what to say. I thought it was fresh and wonderful and filled me with all the awe that fantasy sci-fi are meant to. We weren’t bored for a second, and I was never sure how they were going to end it. I agree the character transformation could have been richer, but for the genre, I thought it was more than acceptable.

      • Clare Sera

        Well, one can’t argue with someone experiencing the beauty of the visuals. I’m glad you enjoyed it!

        • brnicolosi

          No no no! You MUST agree with me!

          (heh heh)

          • Clare Sera

            Ha. On a seriouser note I am going to shut up about it because I don’t want to dampen others’ genuine experience here. I mean, it is a visual feast and it has goodwill t’ward men. And Clooney and Bullock. Clearly, it’s me.

  • Green Mug

    Totally agree. This movie was gorgeous, but what actually made it entertaining and gripping was the story telling. The characters drive the action the whole time, and when it comes to making meaningful decisions that can’t be taken back later, whew, awesome. That’s what stood out to me most, characters make big decisions.

    Good stuff Barbara.

  • tteague

    I saw GRAVITY in IMAX 3D this past weekend. I enjoyed it, but I left wanting more. Here’s my very subjective assessment after only one viewing…

    Some truly astounding elements (CGI, editing, cinematography, art direction) – 6 out of 5 stars
    Some good elements (Bullock’s acting, basic survival story, 3D) – 4 out of 5 stars
    Some bad elements (writing, perhaps the music, some undeveloped or simplistic story aspects, stretches the “suspension of disbelief” too much too often) – 1.5 out of 5 stars

    …all combine to make a good film that produces an exciting, purely cinematic (as you rightly point out Barbara) ride that I can recommend
    …but do not combine to make the greatest *space* movie every made. And I certainly can’t say it should win best picture of the decade, maybe not even best picture this year, but maybe so.

    In short, GRAVITY is a BIG WOW movie with a fairly solid, though also largely unbelievable story, combined with significant lost opportunities to go deeper and further in plumbing even more interesting story possibilities & more profound human issues, and thus will always be viewed as a significant “cinematic” achievement, and will eventually fade after the initial hoopla because of what it ultimately lacks.

    I know I’m in the minority, so I have to take as much comfort as I can in the words of mark Twain: “Whenever you find you are on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.”

  • Mme Scherzo

    The main theme of this movie was LIFE. Wanting to live, to continue, to survive. It is, without a doubt, the best pro-life movie I have seen since Juno.

  • acardnal

    I saw the movie today. I would give the cinematography and special effects an “A” grade; it was exceptional. But I thought the story line and dialogue were weak. I would give it a “B” grade. Clooney is out of the film early on and about 80 percent of the movie is Bullock talking out loud to herself, I guess, in a predictable narrative monologue. I do not think Bullock’s character would ever pass the psychological testing that NASA requires of its astronauts. I probably would not watch this movie again.

  • Seth Wm. Peters

    I got so excited to see this movie because you and Greydanus gave it such stellar reviews. I even convinced my wife that you had said it was a cinematic achievement, and we should go see it in spite of her reservations about movies where people die. Now that my head has stopped spinning I would like your address so I can forward a blank envelope. You and Steve owe me $21.25! Other than the moment where she grips the mud and we all breathe a sigh of relief– why exactly did I sit through 90 minutes of spinning? What was I supposed to get out of this? how has my perspective on life or God improved as a result of this film?

    You must have a very low opinion of this genre to regard Gravity as an achievement within it.

    • Green Mug

      “Other than the moment where she grips the mud and we all breathe a sigh of relief”

      That is what you paid for. This movie keeps you in suspense the entire time. You spend the whole 90 minutes hoping for her to succeed, and then when she finally reaches shore, you breath a sigh of relief. Just because most movies these days fail to generate any sense of suspense doesn’t mean you can be upset when you go to a well-constructed movie.

  • Kathryn

    Hello! I’ve been a fan of yours for many years and your post convinced me to see Gravity. I’ve written this as a response:
    I’d love your feedback!

  • Jennifer

    I LOVE GRAVITY!!!!! And you’re awesome!!!!!

    That is all.