gravity-movie-posterThis is a spoiler-free review of the movie Gravity…until the end, when I have some spoilers, but I’ll clearly mark them as such. Please do the same in the comments.

I can’t stop thinking about the movie Gravity.

First, let me say this: Go see the movie on the big screen in 3D. This movie does not belong on your TV screen. It belongs on a giant screen duct-taped to your eyeballs.

Second, Gravity is not a perfect movie. I gave it a 4.5/5. I’ll discuss those reasons at the end of this entry. But they’re all nitpicky reasons–otherwise this movie delivers on every level.

Here’s what has really stuck with me: I’ve seen a lot of movies set in outer space. I love outer space movies (but oddly enough, I don’t care much about outer space board games. Not sure why). But never before have I been so aware of the vastness of space as when I watched Gravity.

It’s not just vastness–it’s a level of disconnect from everything we’ve known all our lives. It’s pretty much impossible for your brain to comprehend the idea that it’s possible to not be on Earth. This is all that we know. But after you watch Gravity, you will know something else. You will know what it’s like to be separate from the Earth with nothing but emptiness all around you.

The closest I’ve ever gotten to feeling that was on my last day in Japan in May of 2012. I was walking the streets I had grown to know and love in Kyoto for the last time, and something made me stop. For just a few seconds, I couldn’t get over the fact that my feet were on a sidewalk in Japan, just as they had been for 8 months (I spent a lot of time on sidewalks), and the next day, my feet would be back in America where they had spent the previous 20 years. It was a heartbreaking and bewildering disconnect.

After watching Gravity, I know what it feels like to experience that disconnect with no sidewalks.




There are a few small elements of Gravity that I wasn’t a fan of. For the most part I was on the edge of my seat, but there were several moments when the vastness of space was kind of boring. Like, 15 seconds. The rest of the movie moved at a quick, engaging pace.

The little things that bothered me were:

  • I’ve seen way too many movies where the woman is a damsel in distress and the man is the calm, cool, collected hero. Gravity broke every rule, but it couldn’t break that movie stereotype?
  • For the movie to work, George Clooney had to go. But the way he went didn’t make sense at all. It’s filmed as though some invisible force (space gravity? A tractor beam?) was pulling him and Bullock into space. But their momentum had stopped. When that happens in space, you’re just floating. Bullock could have given the tether a little tug and Clooney’s momentum would have reversed back towards the Soviet satellite. Clooney would have noticed the fire and put it out before it started, and then he and Bullock would have made space babies using a sexual position called “The Blind Side.”
  • Someone on Facebook mentioned that the movie should have been titled “Murphy’s Law in Space,” because everything that could go wrong does go wrong. I think this was mostly necessary to keep the movie moving along, but there was one point at the very end when I think the audience had reached their limit. When Sandra Bullock drags herself onto shore–an incredible moment, one I’ll never forget–I half expected a crocodile to pull her back into the water and eat her.

5 thoughts on “Gravity”

  1. I skipped the spoiler part on account of “maybe I should see this because of reasons” but I wanted to say that I agree about movies vs. boardgames. Generally speaking, space turns me off of board games. No idea why. And sometimes unreasonably so. I love Settlers of Catan, much like any other game nerd, and the Star Trek skin of it wrinkles my nose. I played Eclipse and I think I should have liked it more than I did. Surprisingly, I backed Xia: Legends of a Drift System on Kickstarter. It looked like “Trade Wars: The Boardgame” though, so I was very much intrigued. No idea why this is. The last space game I was enthusiastic about (minus Xia) is Solarquest, and that’s MONOPOLY IN SPACE. Ridiculous.

    • Joe–You sound very similar to me in those regards. I haven’t played Eclipse but suspect that I would enjoy it (I’ve heard comparisons to Terra Mystica). And I backed Zia too–it’s the first game with miniatures I’ve ever backed. I like the idea of navigating my ship through the galaxy like Han Solo.

  2. *** HERE BE SPOILERS ***

    Jamey, to address your 2nd bullet point: in thinking about that moment afterward (which also bothered me), I wondered if we assume that “momentum” has to be visible because otherwise it is killed by the force of gravity. In space, since there is no gravity, momentum could be nearly imperceptibly slow but still be powerful.

    • ***SPOILERS***

      FreedomGunfire: Possibly, but my theory was confirmed when I read a tweet from astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson yesterday:

      Mysteries of #Gravity: When Clooney releases Bullock’s tether, he drifts away. In zero-G a single tug brings them together.

      • ***SPOILERS***

        It’s neat to hear folks with the know-how weighing in. I’m interested to know if the director or someone associated with the film will offer an explanation.


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