Beautiful Space, Beautiful Life: A Review of “Gravity” …

… I don’t go to the movies often. It takes quite a bit of convincing to get me to part with that much money on a single movie ticket. Yet when I saw the trailer for the movie Gravity I said, take my money please.

Strangely, the sounds of impact as debris hit the Explorer was added specifically for the trailer and doesn’t appear in the film. As we all know, space is silent. This silence punctuates the terror of drifting alone in space.

Gravity is all about the senses, so shill out the extra bucks to see it in 3D.

I’ll start with the obvious – the cinematography. I can honestly say that I’ve never seen a more visually gorgeous movie. The views of Earth and space are absolutely breathtaking. The camera work was mind blowing; dizzily taking you from inside Astronaut Ryan’s helmet, then back out again to see the terror in her face as the reflection of Earth spins wildly about.

From the soundless void of space, Sandra Bullock’s panic stricken breathing and heart beat provide the tempo for the nerve rattling soundtrack, further drawing you into the film. The sublime beauty of space is set to the music of Arvo Part’s, Spiegal im Spiegal.

If you’re asking yourself whether it’s possible for suspense and tense drama to be sustained in a film featuring just two actors, the answer is undoubtedly yes. Gravity was created with a sense of urgency meant to suck you in and completely envelope you, like being sucked into space.

While the film has just two actors, George Clooney and Sandra Bullock, Earth provides a dramatic third character playing in the backdrop. Earth’s sunrises, sunsets, and storms viewed from the detached point of view of space punctuates the fragility of life.

As phenomenal as the cinematography is, the story of life and re-birth transcend the film’s visual beauty. The real beauty of Gravity is in its story of life. Space just serves as a metaphorical backdrop to the inner human drama of overcoming devastating circumstances that crush our will to live. Sandra Bullock’s character is reborn as she discovers the innate human desire to survive.

In the best review of the film I’ve read yet, Tony Rossi writes;

From a faith perspective, the film resonates in other ways too. For instance, Stone’s quest for survival is driven more by instinct at first. But there’s one shot in the movie in which she makes it into a ship, then the camera shows her floating, as if in a fetal position in the womb. It’s a physical representation of the possibility of her being born again – not in the traditional Christian context, but in terms of opening herself up to life again.

It would be impossible for Stone to be born again like Jesus talks about because she has no faith background. There’s a touching scene in which she’s faced with her own death, and wonders if anyone will pray for her soul when she’s gone. She says she’d pray for herself, but she was never taught how. Is there someone looking out for her now? A picture prayer card that looked to me like St. Christopher carrying the baby Jesus on his shoulder makes a brief cameo at one point, so there’s definitely a suggestion that there’s more to life and the universe than the material things we see around us.

The movie’s spiritual themes, however, are worked in seamlessly. They never overpower, but rather they’re there for those who choose to see them.

And isn’t that kind of like how faith works? You have to be open to seeing it.

Parental Info: The movie is rated PG-13. There’s no sex or sexual innuendos. The F-bomb is dropped once, along with two or three “damns”. The movie is very intense, but it’s an intensity that would be lost on younger kids. Please don’t take your toddlers to see the “space movie”. It’s safe for pre-teens and up. Any younger and they just won’t appreciate it.

About Katrina Fernandez

Mackerel Snapping Papist

  • tj.nelson

    Very good review. How does the film end?

    • Ann Walsh Featsent

      Go see it and find out!

      • tj.nelson

        Not one person who ‘claims’ to have seen the film has revealed the ending in their rush to review the film. I have my doubts anyone has seen any more than the trailer – unless Kat is telling the truth of course – that earth blows up… but I doubt it.
        What?

        • Ann Walsh Featsent

          Why would anyone want to reveal the ending? That’s, in a word, stupid, and not what a review is about. Do you want to know if Sandra Bullock’s character lives or dies? Go watch the film. Why would someone “claim” to see a film they hadn’t? I’ve already wasted too many seconds of my life typing these words, but I thought I would take one for Kat’s sake. Go remove some cash from your wallet, go see the film, and stop wasting people’s time asking about the ending.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

            Don’t mind Terry. He’s drunk again. What?

          • tj.nelson

            hahaha! So funny that anyone would take my comment seriously. Who is that woman?
            Kat – I love you soooooooooooo much!

          • Ann Walsh Featsent

            Woah! I am an idiot. You are THE Terry Nelson. “That Woman” (I feel like Monica Lewinsky) was assuming you were some nutjob bothering Kat. I am Ann, who recently posted on your blog about kisses–wanting to kiss my boys so much that they always remember the feeling of their mother’s kiss long after I’m gone.

          • tj.nelson

            Hi Ann! Now it’s even funnier. I love you sooooooooooooo much too!

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

      Earth blows up.

      • Quittin’ time at Tara!

        Then count me in.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thecrescat Katrina Fernandez

          Naturally.

  • Ann Walsh Featsent

    I saw “Gravity” last night with my 12-year-old son. We both loved it. It is very intense, but I would go see it again, in the theater, for all those dollars because it was that good. I never go see 3D movies because they just give me a headache, so I can assure you the 2D was just as spectacular. I consider “life affirming” an overwrought phrase, but I would use it to describe this film, as well as faith-filled. The fact that she even wondered who would pray for her soul was enough to know she worried about her soul–and then there was more that I won’t spoil that made me smile and brought tears to my eyes. Go see Gravity.

  • Esther O’Reilly

    I would be interested in this movie… if the main character wasn’t a female. Seeing a frightened woman in those intense situations doesn’t inspire or excite me, it horrifies me. It only reinforces the fact that women shouldn’t be astronauts. This isn’t to downplay her strength or her survival skill. However, there’s just something WRONG about putting a woman into that situation. It’s rubbing the fur of the universe the wrong way. Mind you, I don’t think we need to be putting men in space either. That’s a whole ‘nother debate. But it’s better to put men in space than women. It’s the same feeling I get when I see a woman in fatigues waving goodbye to her family. Everything inside me is screaming that THIS IS NOT HOW IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE.

    • Barbara

      After watching the movie and processing it a little bit it did strike me as a little odd that the main character was a women. Women are rarely seen as the leading role in Hollywood and much less so playing parts that don’t
      have something do to with stereotypical gender roles. I did however think that it played very deeply into some of the themes that Gravity was trying to make connections with, such as the theme of life itself… The theme of life was wrapped up so nice and neatly and then placed in so many different places throughout the film that if it wasn’t something you were looking for you could have easily missed it. Some obvious scenes in the film demonstrating this theme were when Sandra is floating in the spaceship in the fetal position with an umbilical-like cord floating around her, and also the very last scene of the movie showing her crawling out from the depths of the sea onto prehistoric lush and fertile mountainous lands not unlike the creatures before us that did so when life on earth first originated billions of years ago. So a female playing the main role of this movie definitely further accentuates this theme. I don’t think it was a mistake to have a female – the bearers, givers, and a sense origin of life – as the main character. George Clooney’s character also further strengthens Sandra’s role as a female by exaggerating his role and taking on a more masculine and paternal-esque character… but that’s a whole other discussion..Sorry this is a book. My hunger for understanding is reminiscent to the need for humans to understand both their origins and their futures… like this movie so beautifully demonstrated. – Barb


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