All cinema is an illusion, but some more than others. “Gravity” is a supreme example of the way filmmakers can create a whole world out of vapor and immerse us into an experience that feels real, intense and amazing—at least insofar as anyone can attest to the validity of such a story as this. Scientists assure us that this film accomplishes more validity than any other, but if they are fibbing who are we to disagree?
The illusion falls apart a bit when it comes to the story. It is slim on plot, precarious on suspension of disbelief, and—for all of its birth imagery—weak on message. But not everything has to be about message. And, there is a sliver of something to be seen here. At least for me, Ryan Stones journey to new birth is a lot about the issue of faith.
There comes a point in the story where Stone is faced with her imminent death. Not the adrenaline fueled, disorienting terror of the first moments on mishap but rather a calm, still knowledge that she is going to die soon. She mourns a bit, prays a bit, and decides to quicken things as much as possible. However in that moment, she has an epiphany. She decides to go out fighting. She hasn’t the tiniest reason to hope he will live out the day, but she decides to fight for life as long as it is in her. She decides to believe that she can succeed. In her words: “Either I make it down there in one piece and I have one hell of a story to tell! Or I burn up in the next ten minutes. Either way, whichever way... no harm, no foul!”
Admittedly it is a weak form of faith. But it does make more sense than accepting defeat before its time has come. In a similar way, life is better when seen through the eyes of meaning, order, and the purpose of a loving creator than the pessimistic, empty chaos of dumb chance. And, if somehow that ends up being optimistic naïveté and there is no meaning, you’re no worse off. In fact, you probably had a better ride.
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