4. Gravity Gives Us A Sense Of Loneliness
When the film opens and we see Dr. Ryan Stone and her fellow astronauts engaged in their mission outside the space shuttle, we are struck by the beauty that Cuarón conveys in his depiction of outer space. At the same time, we feel the sense of vastness of the abyss as we reflect on the expanse of space and its dramatically inhospitable conditions. Some have said that space (or physics) is a character in Gravityperhaps not unlike the shark in Jaws (1975) as an unstoppable force of destruction. As I watched the harrowing scenes of space debris hurtling at Stone and her team, it was space itself, I thought, that was the antagonist in the film. As I reflected on it a bit more after the film, it occurred to me that the antagonist is our hope, itself, amidst the loneliness of the universethat voice that tells us that we can escape the burning spacecraft and return safely back to earth. Existentialists like Sartre spoke of the powerful forces of loneliness and aloneness that are present as we go about contemplating the meaning of our being in the world. Metaphorically, we see loneliness and aloneness as figures that have a role that grows more prominent during the second half of Gravity. When Sandra Bullocks character is alone in a literal sense she craves any signs of life that may be found in the desolate expanse of outer space. Thwarted by empty space stations and lost communications with NASA, Dr. Ryan Stone is thrilled to make contact with a Ham radio operatoronly to discover that they dont speak the same language and thus she is back to square one in her quest to not be alone. The metaphors of Stones isolation and aloneness are especially powerful as we consider the truths of space and our own existence in the world.