Gattaca, a sci-fi film produced in 1997, I’m watching it now(2013), after more than a decade has passed! Part of me is amazed at how the director came up with this back in 1997! When there was not much hype about genetic engineering , the other part of me is glad that ‘designer baby’ is still banned as of today.
The movie (then) gave an insight into how human would be using genetic screening and modifications for designer babies. Main character : Vincent, was a GOD-GIVEN (natural child w/o genetic modifications done), but has heart diseases and his parents were told that he’s only got around 30 years to live. Since young, he was being told not to do this and that, and was constantly being compared to his genetically engineered brother Anton who has the near PERFECT genetic makeup.
To Vincent, he believes that there’s no place on Earth for him, so he aspires to be an astronaut and go to space. However, as he is not ‘designed’ like others to have perfect genetics , he can never achieve his dreams as he faces genetic discrimination and prejudice, unless to become a “borrowed ladder“, a person who impersonates a “valid” with a superior genetic profile…
So Vincent, bought Jerome’s (a swimmer who is paralyzed from waist downwards) profile and lived his life as “Jerome” day to day. While Jerome provides Vincent with urine and blood samples of his own daily, Vincent has to lead a super careful life not to expose his real identity..
For me, the most impactful and emotion stirring part of the movie is actually the ending. where : Jerome climbs inside his home incinerator, puts on his silver medal and lights the fire. The rocket lifts off with Vincent, and he opens the card from Jerome to find no words—just a hair sample.
He is saddened to leave, despite never having a place in the world. He muses, “They say every atom in our bodies was once a part of a star. Maybe I’m not leaving; maybe I’m going home.”
Jerome “I only lent you my body, but you lent me your dream“. Jerome climbed into his home incinerator, put on his silver medal and lights the fire. And at the same time, Vincent took of in the rocket….
Highly recommended to watch! Here’s a link to the movie online :