Gravity is the latest in a string of spectacular films by two of my favorite actors, George Clooney and Sandra Bullock. The cinematography is incredible and well worth seeing in 3-D. My husband enjoyed it so much, that after seeing it by himself, he dragged me to the movies to see it with him a second time. He knew how much I love everything to do with space travel — enough for the International Space Station to feature prominently in my third book.
So, before you start hurling things at me, why did I hate the film so much?
Well, without trying to reveal the entire plot (SPOILER ALERT)
the film is about a female physician/astronaut (Bullock) who, for some reason I couldn’t figure out, was installing a part on an orbiting telescope. Things go terribly wrong and Bullock and Clooney end up in trouble in space. The problem is that NASA-trained astronaut, Bullock, completely panics. Male astronaut, Clooney, must get her to calm down and help her figure things out. Of course, he is also much stronger, more adept, and unremittingly cheerful.
I am so tired of this kind of thing. I have seen big brave men cower in dental offices and teeny women take on drug pushers on their kid’s playground. Why then must females always be depicted as inept? Why must women panic and be “saved” by the big hunky guy on the screen? If this character is a physician, she would be the one to calm down those around her. Her training would help her to improvise and seek alternatives. She certainly wouldn’t need her non-medical partner to tell her that she is losing oxygen in her suit because she’s breathing too fast!
Yet, NY publishers love this kind of woman in peril plot line, too. So many of my writer friends are being turned down because their suspense novels have women who save the day and/or have too much plot for a romance. Don’t you love that one? If we love romance, we must not like to mix that with complicated plots or our wee little heads might explode!
My observations impressed my husband enough for him to change his views about the film and to encourage me to write this post. So, please tell me — would you like to see complicated plots in romantic suspense novels? If a woman is the alpha hero (notice I didn’t say heroine on purpose) can her love interest still be sexy?
We’ve lost some pretty incredible female astronauts in recent years. I like to think that during the tragedies that cost them their lives, they were every bit as brave, as collected, and as resourceful as their male colleagues.
My hat goes off to everyone who works in and toward the goal of space. To me, you are all heroes.