Gattaca (1997)



Critic Consensus: Intelligent and scientifically provocative, Gattaca is an absorbing sci fi drama that poses important interesting ethical questions about the nature of science.

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In a futuristic society where commerce has overridden more humanistic concerns, the rich and successful, eager to obtain physical and mental perfection, have taken to genetically engineering their off-spring. Such lab-created babies are known as Valids, while those conceived in the normal, loving fashion are In-Valids and are considered second-class citizens at best -- especially if they have birth defects. Vincent (Ethan Hawke) is an In-Valid while his brother Anton (Loren Dean) is a Valid. The former brother is short, sickly, and bespectacled, while the latter brother is handsome, healthy and born to succeed. But though Anton seems close to perfection, he lacks the emotional flaws, passion, determination, desire and faith that motivate Vincent, whose strongest desire is to become a space navigator for the Gattaca Aerospace Corporation and travel on an upcoming mission to the moons of Saturn. Unfortunately, his birth status and a heart defect, relegate him to menial jobs. Unwilling to abandon hope, Vincent determinedly visits DNA broker German (Tony Shalhoub) who is able to create false identities for similar In-Valids. It is not an easy transformation but eventually Vincent -- who thanks to the genetic contributions of paralyzed Valid Jerome Morrow (Jude Law), becomes Jerome while the wheel-chair bound donor becomes Eugene -- finally enters Gattaca for training. There he encounters a beautiful Valid pilot, Irene (Uma Thurman) whose defective heart prevents her from flying. Irene's plight is a fate she passively accepts whereas Vincent is willing to oppose and fight for what he wants. Meanwhile, an increasingly complex relationship evolves between Vincent/Jerome and Jerome/Eugene. Set in an oppressive, bureaucratic and chillingly plausible early-21st-century world, Andrew Niccol's sci-fi thriller differs from others in its focus on a morally ambiguous world and on characters rather than gizmos, technobabble and special effects.
PG-13 (For brief violent images, language and some sexuality)
Drama , Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Columbia Pictures

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Ethan Hawke
as Vincent/Jerome
Uma Thurman
as Irene
Jude Law
as Jerome/Eugene
Gore Vidal
as Director Joseph
Alan Arkin
as Detective Hugo
Loren Dean
as Anton
Jayne Brook
as Marie
Elias Koteas
as Antonio
Chad Christ
as Young Vincent
William Lee Scott
as Young Anton
Tony Shalhoub
as German
Blair Underwood
as Geneticist
Maya Rudolph
as Delivery Nurse
Una Damon
as Head Nurse
Elizabeth Dennehy
as Pre-School Teacher
Mason Gamble
as Younger Vincent
Vincent Nielson
as Younger Anton
Clarence Graham
as Personnel Officer
Carlton Benbry
as Gattaca Hoover
Grace Sullivan
as Sequencing Customer
Ken Marino
as Sequencing Technician
Cynthia Martells
as Cavendish
Gabrielle Reece
as Gattaca Trainer
Ryan Dorin
as Twelve-Fingered Pianist
Dean Norris
as Cop On The Beat
Russell Milton
as Gattaca Detective
George Marshall Ruge
as Beaten Detective
Steve Bessen
as Blood Test Detective
Lindsey Lee Ginter
as Mission Commander
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Critic Reviews for Gattaca

All Critics (55) | Top Critics (12)

I didn't care enough about Hawke's character to ignore a big problem in the story's logic: if this future has such incredible biotechnology, why can't Law just get his damaged body parts fixed?

Full Review… | June 5, 2007
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

One of first Hollywood films about the effects of genetic engineering on human conduct, Andrew Niccol's directing debut is an intelligent and timely sci-fi that, despite some illogical plot contrivances, is emotionally engaging almost up to the end.

Full Review… | July 5, 2006
Top Critic

Chilly, elegant, and a little bloodless.

Full Review… | June 23, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Designer babies rule dystopia in stylish SF thriller filled with recycled plot devices.

Full Review… | April 12, 2002
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

It's far too serious to be taken seriously.

Full Review… | February 13, 2001
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

At a time when we read about cloned sheep and tomatoes crossed with fish, the science in Gattaca is theoretically possible.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Gattaca

Little known film with big actors and an intriguing story-line.

Wildaly M
Wildaly M

Super Reviewer


Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer


The human spirit can't be broken; you cannot quell dreams. Brilliantly shot science-fiction film compounded with fantastic human drama, as well as the scintillation of a thriller; intrigue and intelligence form its well written plot. It is more an allegory of brilliant human dram than science-fiction flick, and that is where it stands well.

Adriel Lim
Adriel Lim

Super Reviewer

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