MESSAGE IN THE MOVIES
Photo By Warner Brothers
Directed by Alfonso Cuarón. Starring Sandra Bullock, George Clooney.
One of the reasons that it’s hard to find thoughtful movies in theaters these days is that the studios spend a lot of money to create special effects blockbusters designed simply to thrill the senses and take the viewer on a ride, often accompanied by 3D glasses. So often we get sizzle but no steak.
But, sometimes, along comes a film that surprises us.
Gravity, the new science fiction picture from writer-director Alfonso Cuarón, is a big screen 3D event that is awe inspiring as well as spiritual, posing one of the biggest questions of all: If your life seems as if it is likely going to end soon, how hard do you fight to stay alive? What are the resources as well as the reasons to keep fighting?
As the film begins, we observe Ryan (Bullock), Matt (Clooney) and Shariff (Paul Sharma), a trio of astronauts working in space to make repairs on the Hubble Space Telescope, that magnificent satellite that has revealed the beauty of our galaxy. As they float in orbit they are able to view the beauty of the earth and the stars and marvel at it all.
Soon, things start falling apart. A communications satellite explodes, sending debris heading their way. Houston is able to give them a “heads up” about the incoming catastrophe, but then radio conversation goes dead.
This is medical engineer Ryan’s first trip to outer space and she needs the counsel of her partners as well as confidence in herself to survive. But the more things fall apart, the more she is challenged. How much is required to keep hope alive?
The movie stands on its own as an exciting piece of filmmaking. The 3D process is an integral part of the free-floating weightless world of its storyline. Sandra Bullock once again creates a believable and likeable character that you want to see survive, and George Clooney adds good humor and moral support as her colleague.
As I watched Gravity, the film seemed like an extended metaphor for those persons who live with chronic or catastrophic illnesses that ravage the body, mind, and spirit. Where does the strength come from to undergo yet another chemotherapy treatment or hospital stay? Why do we fight on rather than give up? How does one confront one’s mortality with grace and courage?
The beauty of this film is that it is open-ended enough to accommodate a number of different interpretations, including a Christian one. Find time to see Gravity and you may discover enough space for your reflections as well.
Four halos: A meditation on survival and sacrifice, in science fiction form.
One pitchforks: Some swearing, including a PG-13 F bomb.
"The review of “Gravity” was right on! There are some factual parts that aren’t exactly correct—mainly the altitude and orbits of the specific space stations and the shuttle, but setting that aside; the movie is an “edge of your seat” movie. While I served a chaplain to the Kennedy Space Center, I was thrilled to see a number of Shuttle launches, and having seen several IMAX (space) movies including “The Dream Is Alive”; I was anxious to see this movie in 3-D. It gives you feel for that which most of will never experience. It gives us a taste of the beauty of the expansive universe “outer space”, while orbiting close to earth and at the same time, it takes us into the “inner space” of the human heart and mind. It gives us the opportunity to reflect on how fragile and precious life is. I would highly recommend it, but be prepared for how intense it is."
- Les Peine
Rev. Bruce Batchelor-Glader
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