A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Movie uses science fiction to address topics and concerns such as genetic engineering, bioethics, prejudice and bigotry, and the ramifications of a caste system based on those who are the beneficiaries of positive genetic modification, and those "in-valids" who were conceived without genetic modification and therefore predestined to spend their lives performing menial labor. Movie centers on an "in-valid" who finds a way to "beat the system" and pursue his dream of going into space.
Positive Role Models
While born an "in-valid" and therefore destined to live a life of menial labor, Vincent finds a way to transcend a society rooted in a caste system and prejudice to fulfill his dream of one day going into space.
Violence & Scariness
A character is found murdered in his office, blood pooled around his head. Lead character punches a security guard until he's knocked out. One character commits suicide by immolation.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Very brief sex scene with no explicit nudity. Doctor makes insinuations about the large size of the lead character's penis.
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Infrequent profanity. "F--k" used twice. "Piss."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
One of the lead characters drinks heavily, and appears drunk from too much vodka in some scenes. Wine drinking. Cigarette smoking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Gattaca is a 1997 sci-fi movie in which Ethan Hawke must outwit a society centered on genetic engineering in order to fulfill his dream to go into space. For fans of science fiction with deep messages relevant to our world, this movie has plenty to reflect on and discuss with teens and adults. Bioethics, genetic engineering, individual free will versus predestined existence, and the possible ramifications of technological advancement are all explored. The lead character, Vincent, is born an "in-valid" -- conceived through traditional means rather than through genetic enhancement -- and is therefore relegated to a lifetime of menial labor, but nonetheless is undaunted in finding a way to transcend all societal obstacles in order to achieve his dream. One character is found murdered in his office, a pool of blood around his head. Another character commits suicide by immolation. Very brief sex scene with no explicit nudity. Doctor makes insinuations about the large size of the lead character's penis. One of the lead characters frequently appears drunk, has apparently turned to alcohol as an escape from the life trajectory he does not want to live. "F--k" used twice. Cigarette smoking. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Gattaca is a familiar story -- a high-concept movie that starts well, but falls prey to lazy storytelling. Its concept is strong enough to deliver a future dystopia worthy of a future noir like Blade Runner. However, by its end, the film's hollow retro-1950s style is one that only seasoned film buffs will recognize as a nod to Jean-Luc Godard's Alphaville.
Plot hole after plot hole creates too many bumps in the road. We are never clearly told why space travel is so important to Vincent. Additionally, we are not told why his choice to masquerade as Jerome is any more heroic than bucking the system by simply being himself. After not-so-neatly tying up a love interest with a Valid named Irene (Uma Thurman), the movie's ending strives for metaphor, yet is unsatisfying. Still, it is pretty to look at.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.