Gravity and Lightness

by Michael Potemra

Are all the showdown shenanigans and partisan ill-will getting you down? Go and see Gravity. Yes, it’s a story about a couple of astronauts stuck in earth orbit after their spacecraft is shattered by space debris – but it’s not nearly as ponderous as that high-concept synopsis might lead you to believe. This is a movie with a light touch and a positive outlook on the human condition: Sure, we’re in a valley of tears, but we move on with smiles and courage as well. George Clooney is as charming as he almost always is (the few movies that have him play a somber character feel to me like a misuse of his natural gifts); but the real show-stealer is Sandra Bullock, who carries most of the film. She credibly plays someone who is simultaneously highly intelligent (M.D.-cum-astronaut) and an Everywoman dealing with fears and griefs of a kind that all flesh can relate to.

This is a pro-humankind movie, and unashamed to be so. It does not have a “religious” message, in the sense in which our culture generally talks about religion (i.e., beating one another over the head with our opinions about God). But it does portray, with great realism, Man’s deep desire to reach out beyond his circumstances (this reaching out is what religious folks call “prayer”; Sandra Bullock’s character grapples with this in the film).

Gravity deals with some important existential issues, but it is, primarily, a first-class entertainment. Strongly recommended.