Gravity—Movie Discussion (*Spoiler alert!*)
Anytime someone sacrifices his life for someone else, there’s an obvious tie in with the Gospel of Christ. I don’t see any need to pull out some obscure connection, or super deep metaphor, when we have such a simple, obvious one right in front of us in Gravity.
Things go wrong up in space and only two people are left – Dr. Ryan Stone, a brilliant engineer, but a newbie to space travel, and veteran astronaut Matt Kowalsky. Matt’s the Christ figure here.
When things go wrong, Ryan finds herself careening through space, totally untethered, with no way to save herself. Matt pursues her. He finds her, brings her back to the shuttle. Things go wrong again, and this time the only way to save Ryan is for Matt to sacrifice himself…which he does. He gives his own life so that she can have life.
This is what Jesus did. He pursued us. He came to earth so that he could be with us. Then he gave his life on the cross because that was the only way to save us.
It doesn’t end there, however, not for Matt, not for Jesus. The death was critical—Matt had to die if Ryan was to live, but his death left Ryan all alone and unprepared for life in space. Ryan was overwhelmed, depressed, scared and she lost her will to live. It was in that moment, when she was willing to die that she found her life again. Why? Because Matt stepped in. The movie doesn’t really try to explain it to you—was he a hallucination? Was he a ghost, back from the dead to offer some help? We don’t really know, but Matt comes in, his normal cheery self, offering her his unparalleled expertise—not only his technical expertise for how to survive, but also some emotional expertise which helped her deal with past pain and find a reason to live. And she does.
Her landing back on earth was a rebirth. Ryan finds a newness to life, a reason to live, a joy in living. We are quite clear that she will never be the same.
The Christian journey is remarkably similar to Dr. Ryan’s. When Jesus died, we were left alone, ill-equipped for this Christian life. So Jesus didn’t leave us alone. He rose again. Not only that, but he sent us the Holy Spirit, the helper. The Holy Spirit’s a lot like Matt Kowalsky—he’s an expert, he’s cheery, he pops in to help when we need it, and his advice is always unparalleled, perfect. Not to mention, he’s as mysterious and hard to understand and explain as Matt’s appearing. Just like Ryan, we so often find his help when we’ve gotten to the end of ourselves, when we are ready to die, to give it all.
Once we surrender to Christ and die to ourselves, we are reborn into newness of life. God gives us our reason to live and He is our joy in living. Rebirth, none the less stunning that Dr. Ryan’s.
Questions for Discussion:
- What did you think about Matt’s sacrifice?
- How does Matt resemble Jesus?
- How does Ryan’s journey resemble the Christian journey?
- Can you relate to Ryan’s feelings of aloneness? Have you ever felt like you were all alone, spiraling out of control, lost in space, untethered to anything?
- Have you ever had someone like Matt Kowalsky step in and rescue you, offering much needed advice, and a life-line?
By Stacey Tuttle