Critique Of The Modern Society In The Film 'gattaca' And The Story 'movement'

Through exploring fictional futures, science fiction texts are able to use various themes and ideas to make comment on present-day values. Andrew Niccol’s film Gattaca and Nancy Fulda’s short-story Movement both use differing film and literary techniques to convey themes and ideas that critique the present-day societal values. Gattaca and Movement both present the theme of discrimination in their respective fictional futures, in where which society will always be prejudiced against those deemed as inferior. Though Gattaca and Movement both showcase protagonists with repressed identities, Gattaca explores identity through the use of colour in correspondence to the human spirit, whereas Movement illustrates the evolvement of identity through the protagonist’s narration. In doing so, though they are of different textual content, Gattaca and Movement are both able to illustrate the existence of societal values within both fictional futuristic societies and current day societies.

The theme of discrimination is constantly at the forefront of Gattaca and Movement, where the texts’ respective protagonists, Vincent and Hannah, have both been defined by society to be inferior to others. In Gattaca, discrimination is demonstrated through the ethical issue regarding genetic modification. It has become a normality; where perfection, or at least the appearance of perfection, has become attainable. Those who are genetically engineered become the society’s elite, whereas people like Vincent, born from natural means are deemed as ‘invalids’ and are treated subordinately. This is ironically emphasised through the use of non-diegetic sound in Vincent’s narration; “for the genetically superior, success is easier to obtain.” Similarly, the discrimination in Movement is where society has been prejudiced against Hannah’s temporal autism, a condition she had no control over – just like Vincent’s natural birth. “She [Hannah’s mother] thinks I cannot be happy unless I am smiling and laughing and running along the beach with other teenagers”, exhibits that not only does her mother not fully comprehend Hannah’s condition, but due to societal stigma, she is seen as separate from her peers. Niccol and Fulda have both used their respective protagonists and their vulnerability to prejudice within their fictional futuristic societies to show that discrimination has existed and prevailed through societies of the past, the present, and is therefore likely to thrive in the future.

A major parallel between Gattaca and Movement is the theme of identity and the significance of the protagonists’ human spirit. Niccol uses colour meticulously in Gattaca as a vessel of communicating Vincent’s identity, or rather his loss of identity to the audience. The three notable colours used within the film are yellow, green and blue, representing three distinct aspects of Vincent’s identity. The yellow is an embodiment of Vincent’s identity as an invalid, evidently seen in the flashbacks of Vincent’s childhood. The blue, being widely associated with cold, clinical sterility, showcases Vincent’s hiding his true identity as Jerome Morrow, and the green, most frequently present in scenes involving the real Jerome, acts as a bridge between the Vincent’s contrasting identities. The yellow tint is most frequently used in the first act of the film, and as time passes, the yellow becomes less saturated, indicating Vincent’s eventual detachment from his true ‘invalid’ self. Because green is often present in scenes where both Vincent and his disguise as Jerome come to crossroads, a sudden lack of colour becomes especially significant. One of the only moments where the screen is devoid of colour is after Vincent emerges victorious from the final swimming race against his genetically engineered brother. As Vincent drags his exhausted brother through the water, he looks to the monochromatic night sky, and suspended in this colourless moment, Vincent has surpassed societal limitations, he is no longer bounded by his ‘invalidity’, and proves to be humanity’s ultimate triumph over science. In contrast to Niccol’s visual demonstration, Fulda brings attention to Hannah’s repressed identity through narration, as expressed in the following self-revelation; “I do not want to live small. I do not want to be like everyone else, […] I want something else, something that I cannot find a word for.” Not only does Hannah finally come to realise who she wants to be, Fulda’s use of repetition emphasises Hannah’s desire for individualism. Evidently, it is proven in both Gattaca and Movement that identity is not confined by societal expectations, but it is rather reliant on one’s decisions and actions.

In conclusion, Andrew Niccol’s film Gattaca and Nancy Fulda’s short-story Movement are similar in themes and ideas but differ with techniques utilised within the texts. The prevalent theme of discrimination is depicted within the texts’ respective futuristic societies in where which a minority is prejudiced against. Discrimination as an act of bigotry has existed throughout history and is essentially projected to exist “in the not too distant future”. These science-fiction texts make a nuance to the presence of discrimination through societies of not only the present, but those of the past and future. In regard to identity as a theme, Gattaca and Movement both illustrate identity in where which the individual breaks loose from an oppressive society, effectively expressing to the audience that one should not be dictated by societal stigma. Overall, as science-fiction texts, Gattaca and Movement are able to make comment on the present by depicting issues found in present-day society in their fictional futures as well.  

16 December 2021
Your Email

By clicking “Send”, you agree to our Terms of service and  Privacy statement. We will occasionally send you account related emails.

close thanks-icon

Your essay sample has been sent.

Order now
Still can’t find what you need?

Order custom paper and save your time
for priority classes!

Order paper now