Reflections: Gattaca (1997)

September 18, 2012 § Leave a comment

“There is no gene for the human spirit.”

This was my first time watching the film Gattaca, and I have to say that I was thoroughly engrossed for all 100 or so minutes.  There were a number of specific things that I enjoyed, including the death and rebirth end scene that strongly reminded me of the opening credits to Ghost in the Shell, the film that I touched upon in my first blog post, Self and Cyborg.  I loved the cinematography of Gattaca as well.  For example there were some great shots that shaped the film’s commentary on discrimination.  My personal favorites included the rather grim images of the Gattaca workplace (see below).

The simple, professional wardrobe that all the workers wear remind me of the manufactured parts of a machine.  The production of each part is reduced down to an exact formula or protocol, resulting in pieces that are virtually free of any visible imperfections.  When Vincent’s parents were talking to the geneticist, I felt as if they were custom designing a piece of furniture, not welcoming a child into the world.  Everything had to be perfect.  The doctor expressed this sentiment pretty well: “We want to give your child the best possible start. Believe me, we have enough imperfection built in already.”

Although I enjoyed thinking about whittling down discrimination to a science, I greatly appreciated the overall feeling I got from the film.  As my opening quote suggests, I felt comforted by the fact that there is some “spirit” or simply some motivation that is beyond the reach of human manipulation.  When I was in high school, I remember having a rather pessimistic view on life.  I thought there would always be a glass ceiling, and that there are some dreams that some of us simply cannot achieve.  Perhaps this is true to some degree.  However, there is so much value in challenging our limits.  If we get too bogged down in what we can’t achieve, we start to only see ourselves for our flaws.  As Vincent put it, there is no reason why we should “save any for the swim back.”

-Angela L.

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