Critics Consensus

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



Total Count: 57


Audience Score

User Ratings: 208,579
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Movie Info

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.


Ethan Hawke
as Vincent/Jerome
Jude Law
as Jerome/Eugene
Gore Vidal
as Director Joseph
Alan Arkin
as Detective Hugo
Elias Koteas
as Antonio
Chad Christ
as Young Vincent
William Lee Scott
as Young Anton
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
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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News & Interviews for Gattaca

Critic Reviews for Gattaca

All Critics (57) | Top Critics (12) | Fresh (47) | Rotten (10)

  • An institutional hush envelops the compelling cautionary fable Gattaca as if it were muffled by a velvet lab coat.

    Jan 9, 2018 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

    Mike Clark

    USA Today
    Top Critic
  • 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?

    Jun 5, 2007 | Full Review…
  • 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.

    Jul 5, 2006 | Rating: 3/4

    Emanuel Levy

    Top Critic
  • Chilly, elegant, and a little bloodless.

    Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…
    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • Designer babies rule dystopia in stylish SF thriller filled with recycled plot devices.

    Apr 12, 2002 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…
  • It's far too serious to be taken seriously.

    Feb 14, 2001 | Rating: 2.5/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Gattaca

  • Jan 13, 2016
    Gattaca is a gorgeously realised sci-fi romance that is so extremely tense that it borders on uncomfortably erotic at times, with Uma Thurman's stony gaze and glaring eyes boring right out of the screen and Ethan Hawke's smoulderingly adjusted return to this being an example of perfect casting in a film. Unfortunately, Gattaca is so uber-stylish and incredibly in depth that it very exclusive and kind of pretentious at times. It doesn't appeal to mainstream audiences that's for sure, but that isn't a bad thing. It's not really my sort of thing.
    Harry W Super Reviewer
  • Dec 16, 2013
    Directors C Super Reviewer
  • Jan 20, 2013
    Vincent Freeman (Ethan Hawke) is a genetically inferior man. In order to pursue his lifelong dream of space travel he assumes the identity of Jerome "Eugene" Morrow (Jude Law) who is genetically superior. I like Gattaca and think that it's a very good movie. Andrew Niccol does a great job (Writer/ Director) and I feel that he has presented a very intriguing and thought provoking film. In the age of cloning and genetic modification one does wonder how long it will be before scenes from this film become a reality; simply handing in a blood sample at a job interview. To quote a few lines from Jurassic Park; "scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, that they didn't stop to think if they should." "What you call discovery, I call the rape of the natural world." Although Gattaca is a very different film, it does convey a very similar message and poses some important questions. Is genetically modifying children right? How much should be left to chance? How big a part does fate play in people's lives compared to what we were born with? In the fight between modified and unmodified, is it always the strongest that survives? The acting is pretty solid throughout and on the whole the cast are all believable. I am not the biggest Jude Law fan, but for me he gives the standout performance here. He does seem to be the most interesting character whenever he is on screen. I particularly like the scene where he is stopped by the police for an identity check. Since its release in 1997 it hasn't received any major recognition. I feel that it has been under-rated and pretty much forgotten about. I have asked many people their opinion of Gattaca and for most it's un-heard of. Unfortunately it seems that this film has fallen "through the net". I think that, that is a shame as it's quite a catch (pardon the pun). I would recommend this movie to anyone and would suggest that you won't be disappointed. I think that Gattaca is good entertainment, it doesn't go on for too long, doesn't flood your brain with technical mumbo jumbo and definitely gives you food for thought. It won't have you on the edge of your seat biting your finger nails, nor will it have you dozing off. But it is a good, solid, decent movie about a timely topic.
    James C Super Reviewer
  • Jan 06, 2013
    It has exciting thrills, provoking themes, spectacular visuals and stylistic substance, which make this a sci-fi classic from the '90s. Ethan Hawke, Jude Law, and Uma Thurman put on convincing performances that brought out the uniqueness of each character in a futuristic period. Sleek and compelling, "Gattaca" had my full attention.
    Chihoe H Super Reviewer

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