"For These Thy Gifts"

Are the ideas of "God" and "Providence" confirmed by beauty and joy? Or are they negated by the loathsome and evil? Should we give thanks? Curse our fate? Or, just grit our existential teeth? Here is a thoughtful essay on how these themes inform the movie Gravity.

Hat tip to Books Inq.


As many have acknowledged, "Gravity" features astronaut Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) in two parallel journeys: a physical journey back to earth, and a spiritual rebirth in which she acknowledges God’s guidance. In the form of a survival narrative, a disaster forces Stone and comrade Matt Kowalski (George Clooney) to hopscotch spacecrafts in search of an undamaged escape pod, and although Kowalski dies, Stone manages to return unharmed. Concurrently, in the parallel and primary narrative of "rebirth as a possible outcome of adversity" (to use Cuaron's words), the emotionally remote Stone works through the death of her young daughter. In what film critic Stephanie Zacharek calls “as apt and unsentimental a metaphor for prayer as I can think of,” Kowalski has to persuade Stone to keep talking during a communications blackout with Houston mission control since “if someone is listening they might just save your life.” After the two astronauts are separated, Stone in a desperate moment confesses her inability to pray since “no one ever taught me how,” but a hallucination of the dead Kowalski ends her reticence and she pours out messages for her daughter. When, finally, she is back on earth, she says a single “Thank you” as the very last words of the film.