Film review: Gravity, directed by Alfonso Cuarón

This newly released film, directed by Alfonso Cuarón, is a very original film. It began with a vast view of Earth seen in space. The calm, silent scenes made it feel like I was watching a documentary on Nova. The pace was slow and the tone was uncertain. We were introduced to the two main characters, Ryan Stone, played by Sandra Bullock and Matt Kowalski, played by George Clooney. Bullock’s character was serious and professional, while Clooney’s brought his familiar easygoing charm and humor that fans can recognize. The film moved quickly when the two space adventurers were told some unfortunate news; debris were heading their way after having destroyed multiple satellites. Communication with their contacts on Earth would be none to minimal from that point onward. As they tried to navigate their way to safety, we learn that there are many challenges within themselves as well as their environment that forces them to face death, survival and ultimately, letting go.

There are many things about this film that I feel inspired by. The acting of Sandra Bullock, the specific shots and the unique story itself. My emotions were spun around just as Ryan Stone was in outer space. After leaving the theaters, I felt creatively sparked and grateful for my life. If there is one new film to see in theaters, this is it.

I have seen a few Sandra Bullock films. Her acting is entertaining, but nothing that blew me away like this one did. It is evident to me that she practices her craft and wants to create meaningful work. She does not seem like she acts solely to make money. Bullock successfully portrayed a character who was at a loss of hope, control and rationale; one who gained the strength to overpower the mental and physical challenges that were presented to her. I sympathized with Stone as she progressed through her hard journey. Time was limited and her life was on the line. It was evident that if she wanted to live, there was no time to be weak.

The shots of this film were specific and well-positioned. From the long ones of them floating away from their station or the close-up of Bullock’s face; these shots smoothly transitioned the path of this story. I understand that some viewers may have found this film to be too long, quiet or uneventful. However, I found the pace to be realistic. The background sound of heartbeats and the minimal noises are probably characteristics of what it feels like to be in space.

I admire this story and how it was portrayed. This was not another triangle love story nor was it a huge explosive action film. It was a film that shed light on the unpredictable and dangerous life of explorers of the unknown. They inspire me to question life and the journey. What holds us back? Why? What is worth living for?


5 thoughts on “Film review: Gravity, directed by Alfonso Cuarón

  1. I really enjoyed Gravity as well. My husband thought it was boring, but I think maybe he just didn’t really identify with the main character. I loved the scenery, I loved the way the film made me think about how dependent we humans really are on so many things that are normally invisible to us: gravity, oxygen, warmth, even molecules to conduct sound from place to place. I thought it was a very philosophical movie. And one that actually made me feel affection for my planet, maybe even love. And I’ve never really thought of my relationship to Earth in those terms before.

    1. Spoiler alert for those who haven’t seen the film:

      Wow, I am intrigued by your thoughts. I am happy you enjoyed Gravity as well. I think this film gives the viewer time in taking in the film, rather than throw the viewer in the story and they have to (quickly) follow the plot. At its essence, this film is simply beautiful. I agree with you about the dependency and our basic needs going unnoticed. This film made me see how fortunate I and the people around me are. The main character was in a complete loss and having no one else to rely on. You make a great point about it being a philosophical film. This film brought me to a place I rarely think about (astronomy and space) or have any prior experience and so I also saw earth in a whole different light. I’m very happy to hear your thoughts. What a truly great film. Connie

  2. I enjoyed the commentary around the death of Ryan’s child and her own survival in space. She was broken and unable to “live” her life until she realized that her own death would not provide her peace. She was going to live.

    1. Another reason why I appreciate this film is that it showcases the true “show, not tell” aspect of film making. I think the commentary of Ryan’s life prior to being in space, as you mentioned, gives us familiarity and compassion; fulfilling that need for us to understand and relate with the character.

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