I imagine the biggest challenge to the writers of a movie like “Gravity” is how to capture such pure, primal panic in a way that feels true. Audience members expect a certain level of profound wisdom from a movie like this, one that clearly has an artistic vision and statement. But part of the appeal here is how realistically the director wanted to portray this catastrophic event in space. It’s a conundrum, as certain-death situations are not the time when most of us humans are at our most eloquent. So when you’re trying to create a realistic response to terror at the same time that you’re telling a very particular story, how can you possibly get it right?
My gut reaction walking out of the theater was that the script was too heavy-handed, too forced. The more I thought about it, though, the more I wondered if that approach was actually the best for the situation. After all, if I were in space, barely trained, alone, and facing my imminent demise, I might be inclined to say some pretty strange and strained things to myself in an effort to find some solace in my fate. I don’t know. I’ll probably never know. I’m totally okay with that.
So the movie has flaws. It may have a less-than-perfect script and some questionable scientific accuracies. It’s also the most unique, beautiful and visually ambitious movie I’ve seen in quite some time. I’d call that a win.