It’s not too often I get excited about a movie that I’m almost certain will fail the Bechdel Test. But in the new space thriller “Gravity,” I just might be. It’s been another predictable summer of dudes blowing up shit at the box office. Superheroes, soldiers and spectacularly stupid stuff have crammed the theaters. The two movies I was most interested in seeing (“The Bling Ring,” “The Heat”) I missed because I’d rather spend my weekends supporting shows with amazing female casts (“Orange Is the New Black,” “Orphan Black,” “The Fosters”) that are the rule, not the exception. Don’t worry, I’ll catch those movies on Red Box of Netflix or whatever some lazy Sunday afternoon in the future. p.s. I did see “The Conjuring” in the theater which was quite good with an amazing cast and did pass Bechdel’s Test because talking with another woman about a demonic ghost totally counts.
But for now only one trailer has me most mesmerized and ready to perhaps head back into the theater. It’s “Gravity” a lost-in-space drama about two astronauts literally adrift. If you check out the on-screen cast it’s only Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. Like, no kidding, those are the only two characters in this piece. The film is from director Alfonso Cuarón, the man behind “A Little Princess,” “Y Tu Mamá También,” “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” and “Children of Men.” And fucking hell trailer makes it look like your worst nightmare. If it’s possible to feel claustrophobic in the endless expanse of space, these clips do it.
At Comic-Con, Cuarón told the press he got predictably sexist pushback from the industry about having a female lead. Like, why do we even need one? This is a movie about space, chicks don’t need to be in space. A report from Women in Hollywood quotes him as saying:
When I finished the script, there were voices that were saying, 'well, we should change it to a male lead.' Obviously they were not powerful enough voices, because we got away with it. But the sad thing is that there is still that tendency.You know, of all the genres, women have actually done quite well for themselves in science fiction. Think Ripley in the “Alien” franchise, think Sarah Connor in “Terminator” franchise, think Dana Scully in “The X-Files,” hell, Princess fucking Leia!
So while this movie more than likely will fail Bechdel’s golden rule about having two named female characters who take to one another about something other than a man, I think it will still advance our presence on that final frontier.