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  • Are Vincent's parents genetically enhanced or not? And if they are, where do all his bad genes like the ones that gave him his myopia and heart condition come from? His parents must have carried those genes or he wouldn't have inherited them. And they seemed to have been pretty well off, which contradicts the whole "non-enhanced people are so horribly descriminated against" idea the movie was trying to push. Yes, there are mutations, but that giant laundry list of bad genes they read off in the beginning of the movie when they scanned his genome? I have a pretty hard time believing those were all random mutations that happened in a single generation. I can think of a couple of possible explanations:
    • His parents weren't genetically enhanced. The discrimination against Invalids doesn't effect the older generation so much because by the time it got started they'd already been grandfathered into good positions. Yes, there was an older genetically enhanced character, but he might have been born at a time when it was still something that only relatively wealthy people could afford.
      • We don't know that the old guy was a product of genetic screening tech, only that he has good genes. Could well be naturally lucky.
    • The discrimination against Invalids really wasn't all that bad. We get a distorted impression of it because Vincent wanted to be an astronaut, which from the looks of it is in his time still a highly "elite" position where there are lots more candidates than openings and they only take what they view as the best of the best.
      • Really? So it is "not so bad" to discourage children to go for certain jobs that they are otherwise completely eligible for just so that companies can only hire who they view as "perfect" based on a flawed view of human potential? I'm sure if you lived in a world like this, you would be just fine being relegated to a life of being a janitor, simply because hospitals or law firms feel that just because you weren't "optimized", you have no business being a doctor or lawyer, despite having the degrees, the grades, and the experience that make the real importance. It was not too long ago that some countries' educational systems would only let children with certain standardized test scores be prepared for certain careers. That system was done away with because they realized what this movie had been saying since the beginning: we never can tell exactly just what someone's potential is because there are more factors that determine success in life than what society values at that moment.
    • The enhancement seemed to consist of producing huge numbers of fertilized eggs, gene-scanning them, and picking the one with the best combination of genes. Which is really eugenics rather than actual genetic engineering. It's probable that fertilized eggs with deletrious genes might still get picked as long as the genes were recessive. Only picking the ones with no deletrious genes whatsoever would mean you'd have to use more embryos and that would be more expensive, and the thinking is probably that deletrious recessives don't matter because they won't effect the health of the child and when they want to have children of their own they will probably use the same procedure. In fact, leaving deletrious recessives in there would be very much in the long-term interest of the biotech companies. If they eliminated all undesirable genes then they'd probably lose most of their customers in the long run, as genetically "perfect" people wouldn't need artificial intervention to produce genetically "perfect" children. But if they leave deletrious recessives in there then the "perfected" people are going to have to go back to the company if they want to be assured of having "perfect" children of their own.
      • In fact, the above relates to one of the most glaring problems about this movie: Medical technology relating to correcting existing conditions seems to have stalled, or even went backwards from present day. Eye surgery is mentioned by the doctor, but nobody tries heal the heart condition. But this fits in with the message of the movie, since it isn't even established whether Vincent truly has a heart condition or not.
  • The message of the film is supposed to be that the discrimination against Invalids is bad, but if you think about it wasn't the space program pretty justified in rejecting Vincent? The man had a heart condition. He seems to have had a minor heart attack (or at least serious chest pains) at one point in his training. Wouldn't a bad heart probably have washed him out of today's space program too? His myopia would have been a significant liability too. If you're choosing people for a long mission to the outer solar system where they will have no help if anything goes wrong it's perfectly justified to only pick the healthiest candidates. The message would have worked a lot better if they'd had him be physically healthy but the space program rejected him simply because they felt it was safer to go with an enhanced candidate, or for some other reason that didn't involve him actually having a potentially life-threatening medical condition.
    • Not to invalidate your point, but it's implied that the technology that predicts your life with your genes isn't accurate at all, and also negatively affects the lives of genetically enhanced people anyway. It's possible that the predictors become a self fulfilling prophecy. And in my estimation, it's not that discrimination is bad, but that charting the course of someone's life for them based on their genes is wrong is closer to the film's Aesop.
      • The Aesop holds due to the fact that it wasn't his heart condition or myopia that kept him out. He's not being kept out of Gattaca (or, as implied, many other things) because of his medical condition, he's being kept out because he is an Invalid. They don't even care if he'll have a heart attack or not, just the fact that he's not a Vitro, a Valid, is enough. Therefore, had Vincent been in perfect health and no chance of heart failure whatsoever, they would still keep him out. They pick the healthiest candidates, sure, but even those candidates have to be Valids in order to be chosen. It's kinda of Anvilicious, I know, but hey. Nothing's perfect.
        • While it's assumed he has a heart condition, this is never actually confirmed - the genetic scan at the begining announced a high-ish probability that he'd have one, and he grew up with everyone treating him like it's true. Also, the incident in the gym wasn't a heart attack, it was a panic attack - the investigators had just come into the gym while he was working out and started pulling out people for additional genetic scans.
        • And he would've fixed his eyes with surgery, if it wasn't for the telltale scars.
  • How about Vincent's "interview" consisting solely of a genetic test? Sure, it will say that he has "perfect" genes, but what about training, personality, knowledge of the subject-matter, or any of a hundred other characteristics that they would base their decision on? In fact, since there are an increasing number of Designer Babies, wouldn't the selection process be more, rather than less restrictive?
    • You just pointed out the whole Aesop of the movie. Congratulations!
    • The genetic scan was the entirety of the in-person interview - presumably the interest and knowledge requirements would have been determined in the previous parts of the application process (essay, etc). It's also estabilshed in movie that their genetic scanning supposedly includes personality screening - the director's "check my profile, not a violent bone in my body" (may not be exact quote).
  • What on earth are these guys training to do on their trip to Titan? I see no spacesuit training, piloting training, science training, anything!
    • We pick up the story just a few days before the scheduled launch- all the training they would presumably need would have been completed long before that, with all that's required being regular maintenence exercise in the last few days prior.
  • And also, why in space do they wear their business suits onto the rocket? Unless at the end they were just getting onto a transport that would bring them to the launch area where they would, presumably, change into proper flight suits. (But there was no mention of that.) And aren't real astronauts kept in quarantine for days before liftoff to reduce the risk of getting sick or injured?
    • Maybe Titan has already been terraformed? It'd be inhabitable but that kind of distance would mean it wouldn't be a picnic destination or anything.
      • Vincent's description of it as being a mystery world shrouded in fog that the mission is going to explore implies it's not terraformed or even settled yet. The astronauts traveling into space in their business suits and gearing up properly aboard a space station is almost certainly correct.
        • Maybe Vincent is hallucinating that he's wearing his business suit in the final scene? I mean, the guy was practically dying. (I dunno, I got nothin')
      • The space travel technology was significantly advanced - there are shuttle launches almost every hour, so it's not inconceivable that specialized suits weren't needed for takeoff. The Titan mission was special because it's a Long Way Off and they haven't been there before. They'll likely be doing their research via external sensors, and even if they do end up EVA, there's no reason those suits would be stored in the passenger cabins.
  • Why does Jerome live in a house with stairs if he's in a wheelchair? The house was most likely provided by Tony Shalhoub's black marketeer - there weren't any single-floor apartments available?
    • Probably because he was living in that house since before his paralysis and simply didn't move out. Tony Shalhoub's character does imply that nobody knows what happened to Jerome Morrow - which is, as told to us, because Jerome doesn't want his condition known. This means he didn't leave the house or rent/buy another one, playing the role of the shut-in Valid who is mad at the world for ever being second best at swimming.
    • Also, Rule of Symbolism. The stairs resemble a strand of DNA. That means when Eugene was climbing up the stairs, it was a Visual Pun.
  • Putting up a whole manhunt due to one stray eyelash seems really overkill. Why doesn't anybody seem to consider the possibility that maybe the source of the eyelash never entered the building and it just happened to be caught in the clothing of authorized personnel or something similar?
    • Aesop again. It's... inconceivable for the investigators that a Valid could have killed the director. So, what does the investigating team do, they look for an Invalid. The eyelash is a link to an Invalid, found very near the crime scene, which makes it plausible (given their precondition to believe it) that an Invalid is responsible. If you think about it, a full-blown investigation into the authorized personnel and the Invalid staff does take place and it SHOULD. It wouldn't be a stretch to think, from the investigators' point of view, that the death of the director was an Invalid-related hate-crime (rather than what it turned out to be.)
  • These astronauts have no team spirit, no cameraderie. Do they even know each other's names?
    • Well actually, that sort of plays into one of the film's many messages, the dullness of a perfect society and the stripping of the human spirit and imagination. It is stylistic mechanism right? This is an artistic film - you should hopefully find this element thought provoking and if so, you will then recognize the wonderful poetic nature of the film as a whole - specifically that the film itself fosters imaginative thought and therefore (within the context of its theme) speaks directly to the strenghts and vulnerabilities of you own human spirit ;)
  • Wanna know what happens when you swim out into the ocean and don't save anything for the trip back? You drown!
    • Unless a shark eats you first. But you still win the race. Plus, it was too late to turn back anyway. They were closer to "the other side." Swimming to the other side meant exerting all your energy into the mission at hand, and moving forward, not looking back. Its like a symbolic burning of bridges and the letting go of a crutch that is the security of the shore.
    • Besides it was a race... it wasnt just aimlessly swimming out into the sea or lake until you drown. It was about who had the passion to go all the way and who will panic first and give up.
    • So how does he have energy to get back AND save Anton from drowning if he didn't save any? Doesn't that just mean he's actually stronger than Anton?
      • It means this movie averts Exact Time to Failure people in general are not good judges of how strong they are. Anton would turn back just when he started to get tired to make sure he could get back. Vincent got tired, and just kept going forward.
      • Except that still doesn't explain how Anton nearly drowned either time. There is a big difference between misjudging how much energy you have left and running out of energy.
      • Well that's the whole allegory of the line; vincent just doesn't care anymore, society tells him he can't do it; he would rather die than not try at all; he's fighting the system so he doesn't need to play it safe, he will push himself to the limit and beyond. when he says that he's mocking his brother, who is self assured and complacient on his superior genetic make up; while vincent chooses to find out just how far can he go.
  • Can anyone explain to me why the real Jerome committed suicide in the end?
    • Without Vincent on Earth he had no one to financially support him. At least that's how I saw it.
      • His purpose in life was fulfilled and he was gone. Vincent had fulfilled both of their dreams. I don't see it so much as a suicide and more as a symbolic sacrifice. Vincent has become Jerome and so the broken shell left behind disposes of itself. I'm not sure if that makes any sense. It's hard to articulate.
        • Am I the only one who was upset by his means of suicide? My first viewing, I figured the whole movie was leading up to Jerome swimming out to sea and drowning but I actually missed a bit of the movie and when I came back to see him burning, I assumed it had something to do with the flames of the rocket carrying Vincent. Second viewing, I found out Jerome fed himself into the garbage disposal! Yikes! I can certainly imagine a suicidal person doing that, as a final act of supreme self-contempt, but Jerome wasn't like that at all -- he was just ready to "leave Earth".
          • Think about it - any other way of killing himself would have left a corpse that would have been eventually investigated. The investigator(s) would have taken tissue samples and would have instantly figured out Vincent's ruse. He used the garbage disposal not for psychological/symbolic reasons, but purely for practicality - by being turned into ash and presumably disposed of/recycled, he left no trace of himself.
          • I was left with the feeling he was done being second best. I feel like he accepted the deal with Vincent so his name wouldn't be tarnished with "second place" forever, and that's why he got so mad when Vincent tried to back out. At the end, he could die content knowing he would be remembered for something besides his silver medal. Also, he must have felt like trash during the entire operation, existing only to supply Vincent with his genetic material (aka, being second best). With his pride, it must have tormented him to the point where it would be a relief to die. What haunts me is if Vincent knew when he was presented with a lifetime supply of materials that Jerome was going to kill himself.
    • For that matter, who builds a trash incinerator with an on-button on the inside?!
      • He reached through a slit of the door and pressed the button.
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