1997 Gattaca

If you have nothing to do other than scroll Instagram or browse internet into nothingness, watch this movie instead! It is worthy of your time. Watch and come back again

Spoilers Ahead!!!

This movie was played several times on television, when I was a child. Due to lack of audio, which was close to minimal. It was hardly audible to me or simply maybe I was deaf. Whenever Gattaca would be playing I would watch it either from the middle of the movie or from random scenes which I could not understand at the time. If you don’t watch every scene of the movie, it does make a person confused or rather not understand what they are watching.

This movie is way ahead of it’s time. Science- fiction with multiple dives into the reality.

What a masterpiece! It brings us several possibilities and I love when movies have their way of showing the viewer exactly what they are trying to say and bring something else entirely with every detail bringing a newer meaning.

This movie is soulful and relatable to children in any country.

Let me begin.

Story and thoughts

This time I want to break the story and thoughts into 6 different segments.

The beginning

A man is seen scrubbing off his body and dead cells away. He then incinerates those particles, gets a urine bag and hooks it around his leg, draws blood from a blood bag injects it into a prosthetic skin which he applies onto his index finger.

Now the man walks side by side with elites entering Gattaca, the entrance takes up his blood to valid his entry into the building. The man works on his workstation and after doing so cleans up his desk by vacuuming even the keyboard. Which a fellow Gattaca worker Irene observes. The director compliments the man, calling him Jerome. They converse about working on the mission into the space and the delay into it. When the director is gone. He puts dead cells into the keyboard from a jar he is carrying and a hair-strand in his desk drawer

He certainly seems to be hiding something, trying to incinerate his own body cells as though he detests every ounce of himself.

Later he gives out his urine sample for testing. The test shows the result into identity of who the sample belongs to, Jerome Morrow, a Valid. Who looks nothing like the man giving the sample.

It is a given that he is not Jerome based on the scene where he takes samples, as well as the picture that doesn’t look like him.

This man appears to be calculated and showing no emotions whatsoever on his face. He also appears to be not caring much about anything. A lot like those walking around him. Almost like a robot with same tasks everyday like a corporate office employee.

There is a man inside of Gattaca, who has an exemplary record and high achieving goal. He always looks up the sky and wishes to be part of the mission which is soon taking him space. He enlists the high ranking achievements his name has accomplished.

And he let’s the viewers know that he is not Jerome, the man whose achievement has led him there. Walking through the hallway looking onto the employees who are gathered around and gazing at someone’s pool of blood.

Ah!! The first few scenes build up a new level of anticipation, this person being an imposter, with all his behaviour in account. One is left to wonder, did he kill this man to protect himself?

Behind Jerome Morrow

The man explains that he was god-born. Meaning born without any intervention of genetically engineering. The boy samples are taken out estimating the disease he will inherit as well the time of his death. The boy is named Vincent given by his Father.

As Vincent is growing up, he is extreme overprotected by his parents in a worry that he might die or get injured. The parents decide to have another baby this time completely genetically engineered meaning everything from the colour of his hair and skin to his intelligence extremely well made. Disease-free, bad habits free and well free of any flaws. Doctor explaining that the child will have the best of traits of their parents.

Why does it look similar to ordering dinner? Ordering exactly what I have in mind. That is a very scary thought to get rid of everything unwanted in a person. It’s no different than a robot, I think I love and hate flaws simultaneously but I appreciate their presence in our lives including the diseases and pain that come with. I might sound crazy but having diseases pushes us humans to walk further from our limitation and create something better. Example, there are those who have no limbs maybe born or later lost due to disease or an accident, today man has used his knowledge and imagination and made prosthetic machine which can be used for walking or holding objects. A robot arm or leg to help people experience life without missing out on anything.

Our flaws are nothing but imperfections in the eye of society. They can simply be normal, one just has to look at it in that way.

Vincent’s monologue plays “Anton (his brother), a son whom my father considered worthy of his name”.

Just how a parents thinking and societies role really matters in child’s growth and development. Not only did his parents differentiate in behaviour towards Anton and Vincent. Even a child could recognise the difference in all in all treatment. He also took it to his heart, this belief that he is something who is not preferred. Basically they do treat him like a toy made for nothing. And not a child.

Vincent erases his name as he sees his younger brother exceed him.

I used to think it is an asian thing. Comparing a child to another kid, to use that as mechanism to give motivation. Why does it sound like it will never work? Because it is not going to work, encouraging one person and discouraging the other of the same potential is not called motivation at all. This is what is done in the society, even today. It is a harmful way of raising people as it only takes a toll on the self esteem of the child rather than bring the child to grow to their full development. Why do actions of parents really matter? There is a term called Pygmalion effect in psychology. The image below, for better explanation I have put a youtube link. When I saw this video when it came out. It really helped me understand “Every action has a consequence” along with “Action has equal and opposite reaction”.

Vincent as a child has two outcomes either he becomes his parent’s belief or he challenges them. Either way it is very disruptive towards his own thinking, because he is raised this way into thinking “he is not the best genetically engineered baby” he will never feel good enough.

Young Vincent is born into a discriminating world. The only difference is then they discriminate based on genetic superiority.

Why does this remind me of Hitler? Oh wait! His genocide was based on selecting good genes and good genetic makeup. I think society is no different than true form of evil. The society is made up of all sorts of people, they are forced to live a life which their parents give and when they grow up many choose the life the hated the most and carry forward it to their off spring for generations to come. Then there are children like Vincent who see through this quiet transparently, who know that society has no idea what is good and what is bad. Society itself is flawed as half the times, it is trying to coverup this flaw to sell perfection. There is no such thing is perfection!

Vincent’s idea of despising his brother comes from how poorly he is treated by his parents. At young age, a child has no idea of self. There is just mimicking of what the parents do, a child doesn’t know what a self esteem or confidence is, it is built by the foundation of parenting. In his case broken foundation led by his parents.

While the parents are away, the two brother’s play a game while swimming. The one who swim’s the furthest will be a winner while one who turns around first will be a loser. Vincent due to his belief as well as body’s exhaustion is always first to give in.

Vincent as a child starts taking interest in astronomy and dreams of travelling into the space. His drive remains the same over the years of he is growing up. But is discouraged by his parents reasoning his heart condition and asking him to keep his dreams below and become what invalids do, become a janitor. Invalid’s who are born naturally with diseases. And Valid’s perfectly genetically engineered people.

The reason why I find his parents very petty and many people in reality too. Many sell the idea “you haven’t live in real world or you don’t live in reality”. Most people are too afraid of their own shortcomings and their own shortcomings, if you keep such people around will constantly bring you down. Their lack of belief is what makes people say this to others. A person who has the strongest belief can overcome this.

Vincent goes for interview and is disheartened by rejection based on genetic-selection.

This belief is persistent until one day, Anton is first to back out, unable to swim any further he starts to drown. Vincent saves him from drowning and starts strongly believing in achieving his dream. Strongly believing that he won’t let his genetic makeup determine who he is supposed to be or dream.

Vincent leaves his house starting in new hope. Signifying abandoning his own belief which he carried on himself all his life. Working odd jobs cleaning toilets and belonging to a lower class dreaming of going higher up to fulfil his dream. He still carries the belief that the genetic makeup can be the only way to make his dream become reality.

Vincent as he aspires from childhood to travel to space now starts working at Gattaca. But working inside like his father said, by becoming a janitor.

Why does this sound so familiar? That’s right Indians still have casteism, it’s illegal to behave in a way but everyone does it. Other countries may sound developed but they are no different they have racism. There is no difference, it is similar and yet even worse in reality. I do not understand when will society stop this.

Knowing the workings of the place, Vincent still determined and yet discouraged trains and studies harder each and everyday, his heart condition, his body tolerance and lastly genetic makeup makes him believe his dream is further away.

I really can sense de ja vu in the sense of getting rejected based on ailments.

That’s right, even Steve Rogers has the grit and determination to fight but is denied several times based on his numerous ailments coming in the way.

I think I understand both science and how they feel. Like the doctor says to Rogers, this is for your own good. In any military services requisition or services that require excessive training and exhaustion is precise towards the ailments which will hinder one from the task or make one suffer more or can lead to death. That’s why they have a list.

But in case of Vincent it is pure discrimination and unfair judgement to not giving him a chance. He is estimated to develop the disease but do they ever confirm it as he is growing up? Too much trust in technology I suppose.

He sought out a man called German, who provides him samples of Jerome, a Valid to clear the interview and get in. Basically impersonating a person who is willing to do that.

At first I thought it is quiet sad that two people scamming their way in life. It did feel like desperation when he goes on far fetched lengths to get there.

Jerome is drunk alcoholic who is crippled by an accident, is completely obnoxious full of himself and his achievements. Vincent has a tad bit of self doubt, well a lot of low self esteem and yet desperate to reach his dream. From dyeing his hair, wearing contact lenses to getting his legs done. This desperate drive makes him become Jerome. With his extreme make over Vincent finally says goodbye to his identity and takes up Jerome’s. Jump to beginning scene that is how he pulls off keeping his fake identity.

He nails the interview with just his sample declaring him as valid.

Jerome and Vincent

Jerome lends Vincent his identity but also behaves more of himself as well as his vulnerable self. Since he knows Vincent and his dream. His determination as well as the things he does to succeed just to gain his identity makes Jerome grow closer to him. I guess more than brother’s.

Jerome explains while being extremely drunk that he tried to kill himself by walking in-front of the car, after gaining 2nd place. He becomes invested so much grief that he resorts to drinking and never being sober until they start this.

In a way we see them differently at this moment. Vincent led to believe that he doesn’t stand a chance before he is even given a chance while Jerome who has had it all with his reputation cannot accept failure. His obnoxious as well as society’s belief has led him to become obsessed with achievements and therefore burdening him to live under this pressure his entire life. Have you ever seen students who are always excelling or the cricket players who are playing for the nation. Your older brother or sister who has been pressured to become the perfect puppet who can never fail. This strive of extremes and aiming for perfection makes his life full of grief. Basically Jerome is trying to beat himself to death before meeting Vincent. Vincent helps him live while Jerome provides him a way to climb the ladder he is always capable of climbing.

Vincent and Jerome have similarities. One is being treated badly to never be good enough to join the supreme league while the other has to put up with extreme pressure. A self image which society has made. They are sort of both wronged by the teachings of society.

The (in)Valid

One day however, his eyelash is left in the corner not far from an administrator’s body, who is murdered with a bloodied keyboard. As Vincent explains that he was the one who was near to exposing his identity.

His behaviour of constantly cleaning and vacuuming does look suspicious and makes one wonder. The man who goes through so much will he go further more and kill a man to stay in Gattaca?

Vincent becomes near Irene Cassini, another person working in Gattaca. She is kept incharge of finding of who murdered the administrator. Police detectives are hired to investigate the murder, Senior Detective and Detective Hugo.

Irene becomes suspicious of Vincent because of his neat tendencies. None the less, his meticulous habit keeps him secured. Vincent is running on treadmill to an a lengthy period of time while others retire. His heart rate monitor which was nicked starts beating with his actual heart rate. As Vincent goes into the locker room and nearly collapses out of breath.

Irene comes clean to Vincent telling him she did suspect him. But since he is impersonating Jerome, he is not suspected. His image is known all over and yet no one even looks at his face.

I really felt superman vibes here, he wears glasses and he is Vincent and he takes them off he is Jerome? Seriously? Women would recognise such details.

As Vincent and Irene are discussing their dreams. Irene lends of her hairstrand and let’s Vincent know she has a heart condition. Vincent let’s the strand go as a gesture that it doesn’t really matter to him.

Each day it becomes difficult for Vincent to carry forward with this pretence, scared that they will find him out. Jerome’s obnoxious self, reassures Vincent they won’t find him out. “When they see you now. They only see me.”

Policemen investigate the invalids, while Vincent goes to a concert with Irene, finding the pianist having 12 fingers. Also investigating the office finding Vincent’s DNA again.

Vincent gets caught off guard by road block investigation but uses his mind to quickly come up with a plan, ditches the contacts. Irene brings Vincent to Gattaca’s field but he is unable to cross the road based on his myopia. The next day police ask for retesting as they find sample of invalid twice.

Revelation

Irene and Vincent go out and dance, police surprises and starts intervening for taking samples. Vincent leaves with Irene beating a policeman on the backdoor. Running extremely fast, Irene unable to keep up because of her condition, collapses. He pulls her up and hides with her in the alley. The policemen yells out Vincent. In the moment, 2 of them know who he is. Vincent knowing he has been found out, the policemen who knows he is an invalid, Irene who also knows but is unable to understand.

They have already fallen for one another. Irene suspects something being off. He leaves to clense himself. Next day, the policemen is staring at Jerome’s face and invalids face on the monitor. The director reassures them as Jerome has a great reputation.

Irene warns Vincent to take a sick leave when she sees detectives around his desk.. He then runs away and calls home. Policemen states to Irene that even she doesn’t know who he is.

Jerome at home crawls onto the top of stairs as fast, struggling to get the buzzer and out of breath. The policemen and Irene come to his place.

Jerome giving his sample and Irene pretends to be his lover, but it is visible to Irene that he isn’t whom she loves. Irene having found out the truth plays along. As the policeman leaves Vincent comes from the bottom of stairs claiming that they are both Jerome confirming, he is impersonating him. Irene starts to leave. Policemen finds out that the director Josef was the murderer. Vincent goes to work early, he finds Detective waiting at his desk. He calls him Vincent and reveals that he is Anton, his brother.

Anton suspected it from the get go, he even lies in the beginning to Hugo that invalid has no record. Knowing it is his own brother. He tells him to give this up as he has committed fraud.

Vincent let’s him know that he has come here by his own merit. Unable to let his dream slip away they play the final round of Chicken. Who backs off first. Anton is the one who fails and is impressed by Vincent’s stamina. Vincent let’s him know that he only has it because he never prepared for swimming back. Anton drowns and Vincent rather than letting him die saves him once again.

You know the love of a parent differs from love of a sibling. The wiser one is not the one who always seeks to win the competition. The wiser one is the one who knows what the other needs. Anton being a society approved child never understands how Vincent feels or what he struggles with. He only sees life in black and white. He also is like those who carry forward their parents teachings even while knowing they are wrong. Vincent doesn’t beat him for the purpose of winning. He does it to let his brother know that his approval no longer matters. He beats him to let him know that his dreams are important. He saves him showing that his younger yet valid brother is his brother no less, whether he loses of wins he is still his brother.

Our siblings are also similar to parents. We sometimes portray many roles unbeknownst to ourselves. Protecting our hearts and even those within it. Anton knowing the truth still chose to protect his older brother even if he is suspected of murder.

Relations are not just driven based on words but more on actions.

Irene also share her doubts when he couldn’t cross the street, why his eyes weren’t blue. He gives her a strand of his hair and she let’s it go.

In the first half, Irene gives her strand to prove that she has a heart condition. To Vincent it didn’t matter, this time Irene let’s it go gesturing that she accepts him the way for who he is and his flaws the way he accepts hers. One can also say that she trusts her gut about who he is rather than a computerised test stating of his imperfections. She already knows them.

The Final act

Jerome gives Vincent a goodbye present stating he is also going to travel. He leaves Vincent with a note asks him to open when he is inside.

To the final part where Vincent has come to the end of the mission is given a surprised testing. He gives his real sample. And finds that the doctor knew it all along. He states from beginning remind me to tell you about my son. He states that even his son is an invalid. And he looks upto Vincent and he will go finish the mission and succeed. This belief which no one gives to Vincent from his birth given by a person who is a valid and yet understands his dream.

Doctor turns invalid test to valid letting him carry forward and proceed for launch.

As Vincent is walking towards the launch, Jerome gets into the incinerator but unlike Vincent who scrubs off his identity. Jerome wears his silver medal which shows two people swimming. As Vincent is launched into the space. Jerome ignites the incinerator. Proud and happy in his last moments.

Vincent opens up the envelope looking at few strands of hair. As Vincent looks onto the star. He speaks words of magic

So why did the doctor not reveal his identity? Why did Jerome kill himself? The Doctor has faith in Vincent as he sees his own son’s struggles. I said before that you can either be like your parent and hold onto those beliefs or become entirely different with your own. The doctor sees his son full of potential despite what the society says about him. He sees Vincent closely and he knows he has worked very hard. Even though his entrance is botched by Jerome’s DNA. His grit and his hard work has brought and kept him there.

Jerome is also a man with special talents but he is pressured and hurt by society’s overwhelmingly unmatched constant high expectations.

When I was a child I would struggle a lot. Fail a lot at times, a person who has seen failures and lot of them can grow with resilience to stand up and go on. Vs a person who is decorated a genius and always put high expectations on never to accept failure will always be chasing perfection unable to bear even a single failure. Most people commit suicide because they do not understand that their expectations and what they want from life is different from what people want or how useful they are to society. We all have our own way and our own best talents. Don’t let the society tell you.

Jerome mentions to Vincent that he means more to him. While he has lend him his identity. Vincent has given him a dream. Vincent sees a drunk man who has been and has given on life based on what he considers failure. But Vincent gives Jerome purpose a purpose and a dream.

So why does he die? He doesn’t, he feels more of joy when he is sitting inside the incinerator. Stripped from worlds view, happy and successful in his own view. I find it a metaphorical departure with Vincent. Brothers with a dream. Giving Vincent permanently his identity.

Vincent though getting Jerome’s identity doesn’t fake it all, he strives hard side by side to fit into the role exceeding his own limitations. He never gives up on his dream no matter how many naysayers he meets, he believes in it and he finally has someone to help him reach there. Jerome is mostly lifeless before meeting Vincent, ready to die living in misery and sorting to drinking. In the beginning the doctor tells Vincent’s family that they remove bad habits including alcoholism. It is the society that makes Jerome become this person, who has easily reached a height and simply has lost meaning of life. When Vincent enters his life, he is rejoiced because he has finally got a goal. A dream not of his own but a purpose which means a lot to him. That purpose gives him a new perspective towards his definition of valid and invalid, dreams and failures. Giving the dead inside Jerome, a new life.

This movie should be watched both by adults and also by kids. One should take home the lesson that their passion and your drive for how much you want something. Nothing can get in the way, no matter how much people put you down. If you believe in yourself. I don’t mean obsess or use horrible ways. Everything is possible if you believe. Most times passion is not enough, you have to work hard to get there. To those who resent failure and cannot overcome imperfection, life isn’t about winning. It’s about living, if you fail one day it is a lesson. Failure is the best teacher. It teaches you a lot of things and yet no one admires it. Most people who have achieved have done so by walking with their belief carrying forward. Living through failures day in and day out and coming to success.

You know what success is? To a child it is looking at people smile, to watch cartoons and eating a good dessert, playing in mud and rain. Success is not earning a status but the way you want to live your life.

Thank you. Hope you had a good day.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. scifimike70 says:

    Indeed. Gattaca is quite a unique message on the most realistic definition of success and individual fulfillment. Thank you for that very encouraging point.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. @scifimike70 Hello, Mike. Welcome to my blog. I just feel movies have different meanings to them if we focus on different aspects. It is not only entertaining to watch a thriller but also watching them brings hope. Thank you, Glad you enjoyed reading Gattaca.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s