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“Gravity” is A Space Movie That’s Not About Space

“Gravity” could have taken place on the top of Mt. Everest, or on the ocean floor. It’s not about space. The story told in “Gravity” is sweetened and deepened by being set in space, however. It’s a character, too, a metaphor for every type of vast emptiness and cold incomprehensible hostility aimed at human fragility.

It’s about loneliness, loss, courage, and finding the drive to live despite evidence you maybe shouldn’t. When I first saw a trailer, I thought it would be two hours of Sandra Bullock floating around in space. No. Thanks. Boring!

I was wrong about “Gravity.”

Earth has a beautiful face. Hurricanes are cotton balls, Northern lights shimmer, the sun rises and sets as our planet rotates in stark silence. There were several times I felt dizzy during the screening Ryley and I attended, but it was a good dizzy. It felt important to feel as disoriented as Bullock’s character, Dr. Ryan Stone. It’s quickly apparent her disorientation isn’t solely due to her weightless position. What motivated her to go to space? This is the first question in “Gravity.” The next question: What will motivate her to make it home?

I highly recommend finding out. Ryley and I loved “Gravity.” Both of us cried, but there are laughs, too, thanks to George Clooney’s brashly charming take on Captain Matt Kowalski. I’ve never been in a theater where so many people seemed to be holding their breath. It was eerily quiet at times. “Gravity” is fresh and unique. It’s thoughtful, compelling, and the action and pacing are spot-on. Bullock’s portrayal of Dr. Stone is a revelation. I had no idea she had so much depth. We saw it in 3D, which made the special effects pop and heightened the floating-through-space sensation I experienced.

There are some gory moments. “Gravity” isn’t shy about what happens when people are exposed to a no-oxygen, extreme environment. It’s hard-core hazardous and I have a deepened respect for the men and women who work there. The movie rated PG-13 for gore, language and some intense scenes.

This is a great fall movie—serious, brooding, visually stunning, thoughtful. But it’s also going to make your heart race. Really, it’s a great mix of everything movies ought to be—and can be.

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