Gattaca review

When I heard the title of the film Gattaca, I instantly thought the genre must be science fiction, even though I didn’t know the meaning of the word. The name just sounds very sci-fi and of course I was correct in my assumption.

For the most part, I enjoyed Gattaca and its general message of individualism and challenging a limiting and discriminating ideology of a particular system. I think most of us enjoy watching the underdog (Vincent, in this case) develop and prove to everyone and himself that our lives should be our own choice, and no one else’s. Vincent also shows that being a “perfect physical specimen” doesn’t equate to being “perfectly” human in character. Despite the barriers Vincent is born under, and with his life’s path and fate stamped by genetics, Vincent manages to achieve his dream of joining Gattaca and travelling into deep space. I also enjoyed Jude Law in the role of Jerome Morrow. He is genetically manipulated to perfection, which makes him Vincent’s opposite, yet they are similar in that he too represents someone who is “broken” and cannot live the life which he is “designed” for. As a result, Jerome is bitter and scorns society. His perception of genetic engineering changes to an unfavorable stance and his character develops by helping Vincent achieve his dreams. It’s pretty chilling because I wouldn’t put it past any government to adopt such practices in the far future.

The story itself was fine, but one of my qualms was how genetic discrimination seemed to eliminate other forms of discrimination, like toward marginalized groups. Discrimination is a societal malady which countless individuals and groups have experienced since the beginning of humankind. I highly doubt that even with genetic engineering, a black America valid would generally be considered an exact equal to a valid who is a white American, and the same can be said for invalids. The same argument can also be made for genders, sexual orientations, nationalities and so on. Which brings me to another issue I have with the movie: a complete lack of diversity. The cast, including stand-ins, is extremely homogeneous, and I feel the lack of representation is problematic, especially when the premise centers on discrimination and oppression. But lack of representation is a problem in Hollywood in general, and needs a overhaul. We have only just begun to represent people of color, non-heterosexual, trans-people and the like, in a non stereotypical and non satirical way. And even then, there are not many actors, nor roles outside the “customary” white, CIS, heterosexual, male.

As for the story itself, I didn’t like how genetically altering people seemingly stripped everyone of their uniqueness, nor did I like how everyone besides Vincent, accepts the systemic division. I understand that this is one of the points of the movie, but as a result everyone comes ff as bland, with Vincent and Jerome as the exceptions. Overall, Gattaca is generally enjoyable, and what is especially admirable is that it is thought provoking and has something to tell its audience.

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