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

Beautiful Space, Beautiful Life: A Review of “Gravity” … October 6, 2013

… 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.

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