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Andrew Niccol's Movie Gattaca: a Look at Managing Fiction, Real Science, and The Plot

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In science fiction films, it is often hard to juggle real science, fiction, and plot. Sometimes, only two of these things are able to be well maintained throughout a movie. Gattaca manages to handle all three in a way that, although futuristic, seems realistic and makes sense to the viewer in the universe the film occurs in.

The science in Gattaca, though not completely realistic, follows a more realistic scientific approach than fictionalized science done exclusively for popcorn sales. Much of the science throughout the film follows real scientific advances being studied, created, and used today. Some examples of modern science in Gattaca are in vitro fertilization, shown at the beginning of the movie as eggs and sperm are taken from each parent and fertilized by choice instead of natural, traditional birth, DNA modifying/hand-selecting DNA as the embryos are selected for having the most ideal genes, similar to what the future of CRISPR could entail, and genome sequencing which is shown in the movie by seeing what lies within the nucleotides in DNA, and is being studied and more understood in science today.

As a whole, I would rate the movie 4 test tubes out of 5 in terms of the science used. It follows realistic scientific principles, though not completely accurate in all aspects scientifically, for example, it is very hard to get a good DNA sample from urine, which is used as a source of DNA several times throughout the movie. That being said, much of the science used in the movie seems to follow a realistic idea of where science is heading and what our future may look like, especially considering several scientific aspects in the movie already are being used or studied today.

In terms of the use of in vitro fertilization, I would rate this aspect of the movie 5 test tubes, because it is something already being used today and it is possible to manually fertilize human embryos. I would rate how the DNA is hand chosen from the best of each parents eggs/sperm 3 test tubes out of 5, since it is similar to how CRISPR could be used in the future to adjust the DNA in embryos to make them healthier, but CRISPR would modify the genes already presented instead of picking the most ideal DNA from a large selection of eggs and sperm. For how the genomes are sequenced and how all issues the person can have are found just from a quick DNA screening, I would give Gattaca 4 out of 5 test tubes, because even though it is not that easy now to completely sequence genomes or understand what all of them mean, science seems to be quickly heading in that direction.

Even though Gattaca follows a lot of realistic, yet futuristic, scientific principles, it also keeps the viewer entertained in the drama throughout the film. The action and suspense of Vincent narrowly getting away with his crime, along with the bond forming between Jerome and Vincent and the romance with Irene, the viewer remains captivated by the plot formed in a universe where everything seems in its place even though it is different from ours. I would rate this movie 5 popcorn kernels out of 5 for the entwinement of science, fiction, and plot.

In conclusion, Gattaca seems like it could be very similar to our future. Science is heading in a direction very similar to the science in the movie, with humans DNA being handcrafted and edited through methods like CRISPR throughout my lifetime. The science in this movie combined with the engaging plot makes for a very enjoyable viewing experience.

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Andrew Niccol’s movie Gattaca: A look at managing fiction, real science, and the plot. (2019, January 03). GradesFixer. Retrieved April 2, 2023, from
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