'Gravity' (2013) & Women In Film: A Strong Female Presence Amongst The Debris Of Cuarón's Beautiful Vision

By Karan Dholakia

Not since the days of Ripley have we seen a decent strong female lead, one that is capable of doing something without being given orders from a male character. Now Bullock in Gravity isn't the best example of this, because ultimately her actions at the turning point were a result of Clooney providing a confidence boost that her character so aptly needed.

It was her unanticipated quick thinking that allowed her character to stand out, though it still wasn't enough to make her the strongest female lead in recent times. 

The problem is - and this isn't just applicable for Gravity, this applies to many of the films with female leads - the females are portrayed as these figures who aren't able to carry out basic or complex activities without a male's assistance. Knocked Up was a perfect example of this. Katherine Heigl has gone on record saying that the film was, "a little sexist. It paints the women as shrews, as humorless and uptight, and it paints the men as lovable, goofy, fun-loving guys." Now, okay, that's totally understandable, but that's what the film was. It's not exactly a prime example of female empowerment, it's a lighthearted, fun film.

Kinda strayed from the topic there. Just making a point!

Bullock in Gravity is initially this broken-down woman who's lost a huge part of herself, and it's why she's reserved, anxious. She needed Clooney to give her the push so her character was able to evolve and push past her limits to enable the story to progress.

GRAVITYYou'll notice her foetal position when she arrives at her first stop as an almost metaphorical re-emergence. This was a lovely touch, a nod to Odyssey, even. It was an almost literal/metaphorical transformation. Just lovely.

It's not until a little after halfway do we see her character, Dr Stone, fully ultilise her capabilities after her 'second wind', if you will.

Gravity is a beautifully shot film, with some of the most incredibly intense CG scenes you'll see in a film this year. The sound, ironic as it may be, was a huge part of the film, employing dramatically lifting scores and subtle sounds within a vacuum to highlight scenes. Wonderfully done.

Though visibly absent for a large portion of time, Clooney provided a presence that reverberated throughout the length of the film.

Sandra Bullock was a smart choice for this role, time after time she's played the kind of woman who comes out on top in the face of adversity, and this was no exception.

The payoff is certainly worth it, despite a few dull, cheesy lines, it didn't detract from the overall polished-ness of the film.


Karan Dholakia

Films, comic books, video games, wrestling, writing, and a helluva load of other stuff are my interests. I write, watch films, and write some more. Also, Movieville is my child.