Last night, I saw Gravity with three friends. The heavily-praised Gravity is the first movie that has gotten me back to the theater since the last mass shooting scared me away from dark crowded places. I haven’t seen a movie in 3D since I was just a little dumpling and waaaaaaay back then the technology was seriously lacking. For you old bitches who remember, in the eighties 3D meant tracers of red and green shadows more than an actual change in perception. So I grabbed my bulletproof vest and headed out with my friends to my first 21st century 3D experience. I am going to talk about the movie now, so I warn you….
Everybody is just gush, gush, gushing about this film, and technically I admit it is superb. Yet joining the river of gush isn’t my style, nor is it helpful to my loyal and discerning following. All glory and goodness aside, here’s a fourstack of eyeroll on Gravity.1) Blame the woman. A Russian spy satellite breaks apart and the debris has initiated a 90 minute orbit of destruction. Sandra Bullock plays “Ryan” a glorified space mechanic who is trying to make repairs on a space station. As the space debris begins to hurl towards the astronauts (and the audience, it’s 3D!), Bullock continues to unconvincingly twiddle around clumsily in her oversized space gloves thereby momentarily delaying her return to the airlock. Even though Ryan’s character has nothing to do with the destruction of the Russian spy satellite, later in the movie she actually apologizes to Clooney in a little girl voice. Forget the Russians, if there is a vagina in space then blame it! Obviously, it is the source of all evil! 2) Objectify the woman. We learn in the first five seconds that space is hundreds of degrees below zero, without oxygen, and weightless. Gravity describes space as “impossible.” In a number of scenes, we see the astronauts’ breath fog it is so cold. The sun comes only in glimpses. So please explain to me why when Sandra removes her astronaut suit she’s wearing booty shorts and a tank top? Really? It is so cold that objects freeze solid, but Sandra’s rocking a short-short in space. How do you pick a wedgie in a space suit? For fucksake. They will force female exploitation into every last crevice of cinema even where it doesn’t belong. Sandra Bullock’s ass, while perfectly acceptable, is not germane to the narrative.3) Just grab something bitch! Everything that can go wrong does go wrong which is the essence of Gravity’s realism. What isn’t realistic is trained astronauts making the same rookie mistake over and over again even with extensive training. Cuarón uses the same anxiety-inducing, ultimately tiresome manipulative set up: astronauts hurls towards large floating metal scaffolding and must grasp hold of the station or be set adrift in space. One or two shots of them grasping at hand holds is exciting. Towards the end, the audience is frustratingly screaming at the screen “GET A FOOT HOLD BITCH!” Where is your upper body strength? G-SUS. Needless to say, “the breathless grasp” as we’ll call it, is an overused tension-creating device in Gravity.4) Have the guts to let Gravity be what it is. I understand Gravity to be a visual depiction of the physical manifestation of the profound loneliness we feel as an intrinsic and cruel part of the human condition. We are born alone. We die alone. Everything in-between is an attempt to feel not so alone. Gravity dickslaps you in the face with existential loneliness (now in 3D!). I won’t straight-up spoil the ending, but I will describe it as “tidy.” The cowardly crowd-pleasing finale diminishes the overall message. It would have been much braver to go with an authentic conclusion consistent with the story’s challenging themes.