Last night, we watched the Hollywood blockbuster, Gravity, for the first time. It’s been out for ages but as parents who (now) never get time out to go to the cinema, we have to wait until it’s shown on Sky Movies. We were hooked from the start, and both watched it to the end without taking our eyes off the TV screen.
The film stars Sandra Bullock as the lead character (Ryan Stone) and George Clooney (as old-school astronaut, Matt Kowalsky). It’s a very simple story, but the strength of it is in the fantastic performances by Sandra and George, who basically carry the entire film.
They work on a space station, which gets destroyed by shrapnel from another space station that was accidentally blown up. The tense story is about their fight to get home to earth.
Ryan is a medical engineer on her first space shuttle mission – which adds to the tension of her trying to figure out how to get home, alone. I don’t want to give too much away for those who haven’t seen it yet, but we learn that Ryan lost her four-year-old daughter some years before in a freak accident. She then turned to training for space missions as she had nothing else at home and you sense she needed to literally get out of the world to escape her grief.
The poignancy of the story was not lost on us. I identified with the character, as when I was a child, I got a telescope for my birthday and would love to spend my nights looking at the moon and stars. I dreamt of becoming an astronaut, of seeing the Earth in its entire glory from the peace and quiet of space. Then I could also understand her reasons for liking the total silence of space, how it could be liberating to have no noise, that being outside the world meant being ouside of her problems.
During the film, she faces moments when she is waiting to die (being out in space there’s not much to (literally) hold on to!) and she prepares herself to meet her daughter again, yet she doesn’t have the fear that you would expect of someone in that situation. I totally get that.
I’m anxious about my health and death right now, because I have dependents, but I know that when that moment comes I won’t be afraid anymore. I’m not afraid of being dead – because I know it’s not the end, that I’ll be going to eternal peace with the Father, and will see my darling Abi again. From space, I am immediately reminded that the ‘crap’ we think is important to us today, doesn’t matter one little bit, as we will all die. Just look up at the heavens and see the wonder that is all around us, all the time. Watch the film and you might see what I mean.
I would strongly recommend my grieving readers in particular watch Gravity, and in fact for others it gives some insight into the mindset of a grieving mum (albeit in a very easy-to-watch Hollywood style), and it’s generally a great movie. It’s emotional but not in the way you’d expect, and I actually found it positive and comforting (normally I would have turned over at the mention of the words ‘my child died’). I’d love to know what you think about it, or if you felt the same as me.
2 thoughts on “Gravity and grief”
I really wanted to see that film at the cinema – I was pregnant at the time, and didn’t make it before it left. I watched it a couple of months after Hugo died – I was a bit reticent because I knew Ryan’s daughter had died, and wondered whether that might be a trigger for me. But similar to you, the beauty of the film, the sense of how insignificant everything is in the context of the wider universe and not being afraid of being dead because it means being reunited with your child were what I took away from watching it x
Beautiful Leigh, thank you so much. It’s good to know I’m not alone in that thought (I do sometimes wonder what I’m thinking sounds crazy, especially when I write it down!). Lots of stars in that for your Hugo xxx
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