‘Gravity’: Run to Return

One hundred synonyms for “beautiful” could be dug up to describe ‘Gravity’, Alfonso Cuarón’s latest hit, written with his son, Jonás Cuarón. A One hundred and one, for it is spectacular to see and hear; we feel the despair with Dr. Ryan Stone (brilliantly sculpted from guts by Sandra Bullock), our own losses caught in the midst of our innerspace from where we sit watching her float and maybe even die in outerspace. If viewers have never grieved, they might take the time to deeply consider Stone’s grief- her visceral account of reasonless, simplified, loss is the force behind the story. The death of her young child on Earth propelled her, heart and head, into space territory, and the memory of this horrendous loss becomes her fuel for survival; she cannot give up as long as she has a chance, because her daughter wasn’t so lucky. In the lawless natural habitat of nothingness that is outerspace to human bodies, Stone’s drive to live grows stronger and stronger. With every botched attempt at getting back to somewhere, anywhere on her home planet, her purpose -of survival and chance-taking itself- becomes our purpose, our hope for her. When she arrives, she crashes in flames, immediately sinking under the weight of…everything: gravity, she’s ready to fight it. When she feels the aches and unsteadiness of her body on Earth in the last shot of the film, it’s a moment that seems designed to help us feel our own weight as a gift of life.

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