Gattaca

I’m realizing now that if I want to keep doing review like discussion posts about books and movies I probably shouldn’t spoil the whole story. So, I’m going to try talk about the movie Gattaca which I recommend you guys watching because it was interesting.

The plot is driven by one idea, genetic determinism. In this dystopian future a person’s genes are analyzed and this is the major form of discrimination. Discrimination is fueled by a person’s genetic code, which they use to determine physical and intellectual capability, rather than a person’s ethnicity or skin color.

In one interesting scene, a woman is shown going up to what looks like a movie theatre ticket booth. The attendant asks her, “where and how long ago?” To which the woman replies, “my lips, maybe 15 minutes ago.” She just kissed a guy and was coming to this station to have the skin cells (I think that’s pretty hard to do) analyzed to check to see if he’s a good genetic match for her.  I thought this was pretty absurd, even if she thought he was attractive and a good person what really mattered was his genes? I’m pretty sure that is how we become attracted to people in the first place. We select them based off certain qualities, due to genetics or upbringing or whatever else, which would make them a good mate. What important thing could this genetic test tell you that you couldn’t find out on your own? That he/she has a genetic predisposition to having grey hair?

This scene shows off a video of two brother, Anton and Vincent. Anton was selected for his genes and was born of artificial (probably a better term) means, while Vincent was conceived by natural means. Vincent is immediately shown as having the short end of the stick with genes as we see him taking off his glasses. This was something that we discussed in class. Would bad eyesight really have been something that would have been naturally selected out of the human gene pool? It seems like there should have been enough time for that to happen naturally before the advent of eyeglasses. But I’m sure a scientist would tell me it would take millions of years. Anyway, back to Vincent and Anton, the two testing each other to see which has the longest endurance in the water. At the start of the clip Anton, the genetically superior brother, mentions that this is a stupid idea since he will obviously win. Of course, Vincent ends up beating him, signifying that just because Anton has the “better” genes doesn’t mean he is always the better man.

This is essentially what this movie is about Vincent’s ambition to be recognized. Not only that, he wants to go to space and because society profiles people based off their genes, not their merits, he must find some way around that. I personally don’t believe that scenarios will happen to this extreme, but I can see it very soon where parents are selecting genes that would be good for their children. This is probably already happening.

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3 Comments

  1. The thought of this creeps me out because I feel like that really could be the future. Just look at how popular plastic surgery has gotten over the years This is just the next step in people using technology to create their idea of perfection.

  2. I’ve seen this movie. I don’t know if it is still there but I saw it on Hulu about a year ago. The lengths the main character goes to to pass himself off as one of the genetically altered humans is brilliant, and although I can see that he is not up to the tasks he goes through physically, I can’t believe that someone as brilliant as him wouldn’t be valued in society just because he isn’t perfect.

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