Gravity: A Very Short Review

By Brenda W. Clough

gravityAs a member of SFWA I got roped in one year to be on the Nebula Film committee. Ever since I have kept an eye on the movies that come out that might possibly be eligible for the award. And I particularly watch for SCIENCE fiction. Fantasy has a total lock on film and needs no additional PR or support — can you say Harry Potter? Avengers? The Hobbit? Yes you can!

OK, so I can report that we can put it away for the 2013 Nebs. As of this writing Gravity surely has a lock. OMG, this is one intense and exciting movie! I have never seen space and space travel rendered better. It is really, really believable, and the creators worked hard to get all the details right. And this is a film where you truly get your full dollar’s worth if you spring for the IMAX 3-D show.  Do not see this movie on your laptop! Insist on seeing it in 3-D — it’s just amazing. This is as close as we chairbound desk jockeys are ever going to get to going into space ourselves.

And, Bechdel Test mavens, rejoice! Finally a movie where the protagonist is a woman of courage and competence. She struggles, fails, and struggles again, exactly as (yes!) a male protagonist would. Sandra Bullock is already getting murmurs about an Oscar, and I can believe it. She carries this movie on her back alone, like Atlas with the globe.  Sexy George Clooney is grand, but definitely the second banana.  People complain that the plot is simplistic, but it does not bother me — (wo)man-against-nature plots necessarily don’t have a lot of elaboration.

My only warning is, this is not a movie for agoraphobes or claustrophobes. Space travel flips from one to the other with regularity, and if you can’t handle it, you’ll need your airsickness bag for this film.

My newest novel Speak to Our Desires is out exclusively from Book View Café.

I also have stories in Book View Café’s two steampunk anthologies, The Shadow Conspiracy and The Shadow Conspiracy II, as well as in BVC’s many other anthologies, including our latest, Beyond Grimm.

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About Brenda Clough

Brenda W. Clough spent much of her childhood overseas, courtesy of the U.S. government. Her first fantasy novel, The Crystal Crown, was published by DAW in 1984. She has also written The Dragon of Mishbil (1985), The Realm Beneath (1986), and The Name of the Sun (1988). Her children’s novel, An Impossumble Summer (1992), is set in her own house in Virginia, where she lives in a cottage at the edge of a forest. Her novel How Like a God, available from BVC, was published by Tor Books in 1997, and a sequel, Doors of Death and Life, was published in May 2000. Her latest novels from Book View Cafe include Revise the World (2009) and Speak to Our Desires. Her novel A Most Dangerous Woman is being serialized by Serial Box. Her novel The River Twice is newly available from BVC.

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Gravity: A Very Short Review — 3 Comments

  1. Well, Gravity doesn’t actually pass the Bechdal Test — there are no conversations between two women. But it might qualify for an exception because there are really only two characters in the movie, outside of a few unseen voices, and it does focus on a woman.

  2. Interestingly, the man (Clooney) is the one who keeps on veering conversation to relationship matters, his own cuteness, and so on. In other words, his subject matter is traditionally feminine. Sandra Bullock is the one who has to use that, to fuel her own will and drive.

  3. My daughter was a little annoyed with Clooney’s character’s relentless “ain’t I adorable, did I ever tell you about the time…” routine, but I found it both utterly believable and eventually rather touching. He’s an old-time Guy, doing an old-time Guy-shtick. He’s the guy HR would have been giving warnings to, if he a) wasn’t working in a recovering-all-boy business and b) weren’t so damned good at what he does and c) wasn’t on his way out.

    What fascinated me about Bullock’s performance was its apparent transparence. At no time did I think “hey, that was a hell of a scene.” She just seemed to be there.

    Also: I love Alfonso Cuaron, the director. He’s smart visually and emotionally.