Every Friday night, Movies.com sends cinephiles (and newlyweds) Sarah and Joe Piccirillo to see a film. Afterwards, they answer a few questions about it. Below is their discussion.
Synopsis: Sandra Bullock and George Clooney star in Alfonso Cuaron’s latest thriller as astronauts who must navigate through space without a ship after becoming stranded during a routine mission.
Was this a good date movie?
Sarah: This is a great date movie if you don’t want to get into anything with your date afterward. It won’t cause any sparks but it also won’t lead to any fights or awkward moments.
Joe: Right. It’s like riding a roller coaster. You both experience the same ups and downs and your adrenaline is up, but nothing sticks with you once the ride is over. This is the perfect movie to see after a marriage counseling session. Or maybe during one.
Sandra Bullock has been getting serious Oscar buzz. What do you think?
Sarah: I think the melodramatic, clichéd script would make it hard for Bullock to be a serious Oscar contender for this, but I’ve been wrong before.
Joe: I don’t see it. This is not an actor’s film. It’s an amazing video game experience replete with random sequences of wooden and banal dialogue to break up the action scenes. To single out Bullock’s performance is to credit a baggage handler with your flight experience. My metaphors are amazing.
Sarah: I agree. The movie is visually engrossing but the characters are not particularly notable. They’re a tool to help us feel the reality of being in space.
Joe: You’ve just set me up for limitless sexual innuendo jokes. Thank you for that.
What did you love?
Joe: I loved that visceral feeling of being suspended in space along with the characters. There were no explosions or aliens or relationship dramas to contend with. I like that the filmmakers committed to showing how liberating and devastating zero gravity can be.
Sarah: I really liked how realistic everything was. There were some unlikely Hollywood moments but overall this was like the most interesting Discovery Channel space show ever.
Joe: I like that the scares weren’t from surprises (space cat jumps in front of camera!) but from mounting tension.
Sarah: George Clooney is a charm machine. His wisecracking, unruffled cool-guy astronaut was actually kind of annoying here. I feel like the situation called for some freaking out rather than banter and a thumbs up.
Joe: Yeah, “droll” and “sucked into space” are two things I wouldn’t put together. It’s like watching Cary Grant crack wise with his “darlings” while tumbling through space. It’s absurd.
Sarah: I loved that Ed Harris was the voice of Mission Control.
Joe: I liked that everyone in the theater was silent watching this film. No texting or talking. Everyone was enthralled. It was an experience.
Sarah: I like that now that we’ve seen this movie, we no longer have to sit through trailers for it.
What will you be thinking about tomorrow?
Joe: How Bullock’s character is ready to die and reunite with her daughter in heaven only to have a last minute change of heart and fight to survive. Burn. I hope the daughter’s not watching.
Sarah: The way liquids and fire broke off into little floating droplets. Tears lifted right out of the eyes and floated away. I bet that was even cooler in 3D. Unfortunately I’d puke if we watched in in 3D so we had to use our imagination.
Joe: Yeah, I couldn’t pay attention to that because I was stuck on that terrible dialogue. She apparently learns to move through crippling depression and loss by listing clichés and fighting against insurmountable obstacles. I don’t know that it’s a sustainable plan.
Sarah: This is not the type of movie to start getting all nerdy about accuracy, but I was surprised that George Clooney ends up on the losing end of some shoddy physics.
Joe: But the filmmakers did put so much thought into getting the science right that you’d think they would have fact-checked that moment. It’s such an easy fix. It reminded me of DiCaprio’s ridiculous floating door struggles at the end of Titanic.
Sarah: After being on a long-ass mission in a tiny shuttle, Sandra Bullock emerges from her big fat space suit in a tiny tank top and spandex boys shorts with perfectly hairless legs and underarms.
Joe: Well, I’m okay with suspending my disbelief on that one. No one wants to see a hairy, smelly Sandra Bullock.
Sarah: See it.
Joe: Yep, see it.
Sarah and Joe are writers/editors who live in Boston. They met in a bar and married within a year. They love to argue about early Woody Allen films and old romantic comedies. They both agree to hate musicals.