GRAVITY REVIEW: (GRADE: A+)
From the screenplay to the musical score to the cinematography, Gravity is bursting with originality and groundbreaking creativity on every frame, but it's the performances by Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side, Miss Congeniality) and George Clooney (The Oceans Trilogy, Good Night and Good Luck) that give it its humanity. The duo star as a pair of astronauts stranded in space after debris from a destroyed Russian satellite takes out their shuttle. If Clooney comes across as almost too perfect and noble, it's hard to fault him or the screenplay for giving viewers such a likable hero. Bullock, for her part, so effectively carries the film that an Oscar nomination is assured. It's a gripping performance.
Director Alfonso Cuaron (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, A Little Princess), outdoes
himself here, crafting an audience experience that feels suffocatingly realistic. The movie effectively captures the terror of slipping into the void and helpless feeling of weightlessness. There is not a single misstep in the entire film (artistically or dramatically; I'm sure it takes liberties with the science), and when the intensity approaches near-unbearable levels the movie wisely takes refuge in moments of unexpected humanity, beauty, and grace. The story is simple, but the execution is flawless.
CONTENT OVERVIEW: Gravity is rated PG-13. It has a handful of scattered moderate profanities and one f-word, but not a steady stream of foul language. There is no sexual content or nudity. A female astronaut wears a tank top and short shorts, but the context is not sensual. The film is relentlessly intense, with characters' lives constantly in peril. A few dead astronauts are seen, frozen from exposure to outer space (one has a hole in his face from debris, but it's bloodless because, again, he's frozen solid).
MESSAGES TO DISCUSS: God created Earth, space, and the vast expanses of the universe (Moses 7:30). Bullock's character expresses a desire to pray, but isn't sure how because “no one taught her;” those who know God have a duty to teach others (Acts 8:29-35). She also expresses a hope and a belief that she can meet her deceased daughter in heaven and raise her. This is consistent with the teachings of the restored Gospel: “Little children shall be saved. They are alive in Christ and shall have eternal life (“The Salvation of Little Children,” Elder Bruce R. McConkie, Ensign, April 1977). Joseph Smith taught that mothers will raise their deceased children in the kingdom of God. He told a grieving mother: “You will have the joy, the pleasure and satisfaction of nurturing this child, after its resurrection, until it reaches the full stature of its spirit” (Teachings of the Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith, Chapter 14- “Words of Hope and Consolation at the Time of Death“). There is no greater love than to give your life for someone else, like the Savior Jesus Christ did (John 15:13).