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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Gravity (which stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney and was directed by Children of Men's Alfonso Cuaron) isn't your run-of-the-mill sci-fi thriller: It's a spare, elegant film that speaks to the mysteries of human emotion and space, as well as a stunning piece of moviemaking with depth and insight that make it an intense viewing experience (which is heightened, for the better, by the 3D presentation). Its mature themes -- including death and grief -- and scenes of gripping peril make it best for teens and adults. Younger kids may be frightened by some sequences, including one that's notably gory/gruesome. There's also some swearing (including both "f--k" and "s--t").
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In GRAVITY, Dr. Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is a medical engineer on her first trip to outer space. But during the final spacewalk on the day before she and the rest of the crew are set to return to Earth, the Russians shoot down one of their own satellites; the explosion causes a catastrophic debris shower that threatens to wipe out all orbiting space stations, including Stone's shuttle. With seasoned astronaut Lieut. Matt Kowalsky (George Clooney) by her side, Stone struggles to survive -- not just the accident that threatens her and everyone else's lives, but her own personal demons as well.
Is it any good?
Oh to be astonished, frightened, and entertained all at the same time -- that's the power of Alfonso Cuaron's masterful film. A mindful and meticulous meditation on mortality, tragedy, and the human spirit, Gravity is driven by both stunning cinematography and Bullock's artful, complex performance. Add to this a soundtrack so well-calibrated that the music enhances rather than overpowers (as too many soundtracks are wont to do).
It's obvious that an enormous amount of discipline went into filming Gravity -- but, far from making the movie sterile, the precision only serves to heighten the impact of an already stunning story. There's no reason, at least on this planet, that it won't be appreciated as a monumental piece of moviemaking. This is what 3-D effects were made for -- not the bullying bombast and empty trickery that plagues other, lesser 3-D films, but to artfully enhance a movie with grand imagination, riveting narrative, and true soul.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Gravity is similar to, and different from, other movies about space. Is it a sci-fi movie, a thriller, a drama, or a combination of all three?
How do you explain the bevy of emotions that Dr. Stone experiences throughout the movie? Do you understand why she reacts this way?
Which is more memorable/impressive -- the film's technical achievements or its character drama? Why?
- In theaters: October 4, 2013
- On DVD or streaming: February 25, 2014
- Cast: Eric Michels, George Clooney, Sandra Bullock
- Director: Alfonso Cuaron
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Space and Aliens
- Character Strengths: Courage, Perseverance
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: intense perilous sequences, some disturbing images and brief strong language
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