German’s character helps invalids do what they are told they cannot by finding people with perfect DNA, then sells their genetic codes to lesser important people in return for a part of their salary trades identities in the black market 3) What is an “in-valid”? An invalid is a genetically-inferior person. 4) List 3 ways that the society portrayed in the movie routinely “reads” a person’s genetic profile. DNA: Hair, urine, blood. 5) What two major surgeries did Vincent have to enhance his genetic “imperfections? He had the shin extension surgeries to make him taller like Jerome, and he had his teeth altered. 6) List three things Vincent did on a daily basis to maintain his “Jerome” identity. He got rid of as much DNA as he could; scrubbed his body to get rid of loose skin cells, wore contacts, planted fake DNA around his workplace (like Jerome’s hair), glued a false thumb with Jerome’s DNA and blood, etc. 7) Who is murdered in this film? Why? The mission director was killed because someone wanted to stop the shuttle from lifting off to Titan. 8) What evidence pointed towards an “in-valid” as the murderer?
An eyelash of an invalid was found in the corridor (crime scene) 9) Describe the different attitudes Vincent and Irene have toward their imperfections. Irene is ashamed and believes that she cannot do anything about it because it lies in her genetic material, but Vincent believes that he can change who he is by pretending to be someone else to achieve his dream. 10) What ultimately happened to Anton? Why? Anton and Vincent played one of their childhood games – to see who can swim the farthest from the shore without turning back – for one last time, to prove to Vincent that Anton will always be the faster, better, stronger brother.
But Anton cannot continue, and loses strength, therefore he drowns, and Vincent ends up saving his life. Anton realized that even though Vincent is an invalid, he is very much capable of surpassing everyone’s expectations. 11) If Anton was genetically superior to Vincent, why was their ultimate fate so different? Vincent always had the determination, the passion, and the drive to reach his goal, to achieve, and to (again), surpass everyone’s expectations. Anton figured that since he was genetically superior, he did not have to try as hard when going up against his brother.
But with the willpower, and the strength, and the support from Jerome, Vincent was able to get up to Anton’s level of genetic superiority, even exceeding it since he ended up saving Anton’s life. 12) What is the relationship between Vincent and his brother? How is it ultimately resolved? In their younger years, they were always competitive, and Anton always felt more superior to Vincent because of his “amazing” genetics, and this means that Anton was always favored. In the end, Vincent ends up saving his brother from drowning, and this shows that Vincent once again proved that he was worthy of Anton’s respect. 3) What is the significance of the word “Gattaca”? The movie revolves around human genetics; DNA. The letters G T A C represent the initial DNA bases in our genetic structures. Part II (Put a little more thought into answering these questions) 1. How is the relationship between Vincent and his brother Anton like and unlike the relationship between Vincent and Jerome? Jerome is willing to help Vincent achieve his dreams by giving him pieces of his identity, whereas Anton has always tried to crush Vincent; to be superior to him in every way. 2.
How are the swimming scenes between Vincent and Anton related to Jerome’s career in swimming? Jerome was a former swimming star who only won a silver medal in an important competition, and this caused Jerome to give up and try to commit suicide. I think this relates to the swimming scenes between Vincent and Anton because whenever Vincent and Anton would race in the waters to see who would turn back first, Vincent would always come in second place (silver medal). 3. What name does Jerome choose for himself? Is there any significance to this name? Jerome wants to be called by his middle name: Eugene. With esearch on the internet, I have found that Eugene comes from the Greek word meaning “well-born”, which is a huge symbol in the movie. Also, “eugenics” is the science of improving the genetic qualities of a species, which is also very interesting. 4. Do Vincent and Jerome stick to their new names consistently through the film, or are there moments when they revert to their original names? It is very rare that they use their original names since Vincent is practically becoming Jerome (taking his identity). 5. As the story unfolds, Jerome’s behavior and especially his remarks about himself reveal a great deal .
How would you describe his character? In this movie, the society only valued ‘perfect’ individuals, which means they had a bright future according to their DNA. Jerome realized he would never be seen as ‘human’ again because he became crippled after trying to commit suicide. In a way he was broken, and the only valuable thing about him was his genetic code, even though he couldn’t achieve anything with it anymore. I believe that is why Jerome was so negative; he had a future with his perfect genetic structure, and was supposed to achieve all kinds of things based on his DNA, but now he was considered ‘imperfect’.
Letting Vincent achieve his dreams through Jerome was basically his last possible contribution; he found something/someone that he could help in his broken state, and after that he saw that he had no reason to continue living in a world with those morals, regulations and views, therefore he committed suicide at the end of the movie. What is the psychological burden under which Anton and Jerome labor? Does this burden seem sufficient to motivate their actions? Jerome has the psychological burden of being ‘imperfect’ in a world where the society only accepts individuals with perfect DNA’s to achieve great things. . One of the central images in the film is the staircase in Vincent and Jerome’s home. Do you notice anything about this staircase? Is there any significance to Jerome’s struggle to climb it? The staircase resembles a DNA strand; the double helix (one of the biggest symbols in the film). The staircase, and the fact that Jerome/Eugene struggled to climb them, represents his struggle to overcome his physical limits (wheelchair), just like Vincent had to overcome his physical limits (bad DNA). 7. Is there really anything wrong with the Director’s position that Gattaca has the right “recruitment philosophy”?
Is the Director right that “no one exceeds his potential”? From a business point it is considered acceptable; in order to have a successful business, you must gather the elites of the individuals. But in a society, this is considered discrimination. This is relatable to our societies because we discriminate against race, genders, IQ, etc, and is one of today’s most frowned-upon discussions, even though we all discriminate in some way without realizing it. 8. Does the medical technician fail to do his job by letting Vincent on to the space ship?
I honestly don’t believe so, because we learn that the doctor’s son has a genetic heart defect, like Vincent. And the fact that the doctor let Vincent on the space ship, along with the quote that “his son admires Vincent” suggests that his son also wants to go up to space someday, and because his son looks up to Vincent, refusing to let Vincent on the space ship because of his defect would be like refusing to let his son carry out his dreams. 9. What are Vincent’s relationships with his father and mother like? How does it affect Vincent’s life?
Vincent’s family, including his brother, considered him to be “chronically ill”. His parents, especially his mother, became very protective of him and every childhood illness was treated as it was life threatening because of all the possibilities for multiple conditions, diseases, disorders, etc. This affected Vincent’s life because he grew up to want to prove to everybody that despite the problems and possibilities, he could still succeed. Part III- Quotations (again, take a little more time on this section) Choose 10 of the following quotations and explain in your own words what they mean as they relate to the film: 1.
Vincent: I was never more certain of how far away I was from my goal than when I was standing right beside it. 2. Vincent: They used to say that a child conceived in love has a greater chance of happiness. They don’t say that anymore. Vincent was born in love and in care (his parents made sure he was always safe and treated every little mishap as something life-threatening), but it wasn’t enough to be brought up with such love because he doesn’t have the physical or genetic attributes to work at Gattaca/to accomplish his dreams since he has the heart defect.
Also, sometimes we make our own happiness, by the choices we make or the experiences we go through. 3. Vincent: We now have discrimination down to a science. This is said because in the film, nobody cares what you look like; all they need is your DNA (urine, hair sample, eyelashes, etc) for identification. If your DNA shows that you have a heart problem, for example, you will not be qualified for the job at Gattaca. 4. Jerome: I got the better end of the deal. I only lent you my body – you lent me your dream.
Jerome believed that without a working body, he couldn’t accomplish his dream of getting a “gold medal” because of his physical limitation, so he gave up parts of his identity and genetic profile to Vincent, so that Vincent could fulfill his dreams of being a “valid”. In a way, Jerome lived through Vincent, and in a way, Jerome’s dreams were coming true just like Vincent’s were coming true, and Jerome received the satisfaction in knowing that Vincent’s dreams were fulfilled in the end. 5. Vincent: [voiceover] For someone who was never meant for this world, I must confess I’m suddenly having a hard time leaving it.
Of course, they say every atom in our bodies was once part of a star. Maybe I’m not leaving… maybe I’m going home. 6. Antonio: Son, the only way you’re going to see the inside of a space shuttle is if you’re cleaning it. Antonio said this to Vincent because he knew about his heart problems, therefore Antonio knew that Vincent wouldn’t be able/capable of getting into the Gattaca space program as an astronaut because of his heart problem. Therefore, the only way Vincent will see the inside of the space shuttle will be if he’s cleaning it. 7. Vincent: Is the only way you can succeed is to see me fail? . Vincent: Blood has no nationality I think this suggests that blood is blood – despite the artificial and genetic changes we can impose on ourselves, we all basically have the same blood. In this movie, people are discriminated by their future abilities based on their DNA/blood. But in reality, people are judged because of their race, features, looks, money value, etc. So, simplistically, this quote is saying that we are all the same on the inside – we are all composed of genetic material and really, there is no need for discrimination. 9. Dr. Lamar: …
I still haven’t told you about my son have I? He’s a big fan of yours… The doctor mentions his son early in the movie, and at the end of the movie we find out that the son is also engineered yet flawed in his DNA. The doctor repeatedly mentions his son which suggests that the doctor has always known about Vincent being a ‘borrowed ladder’. 10. Vincent: You are the authority on what is not possible, aren’t you Irene? They’ve got you looking for any flaw, that after a while that’s all you see. For what it’s worth, I’m here to tell you that it is possible.
It is possible. This quote shows that society has convinced Irene that because she is flawed in one way, she is not worth anything; that she is not and will not be capable of achieving her dreams because of that one flaw. Because of the genetic “defect”, what’s on the outside does not matter. Her dreams, hopes, ambitions do not matter because she will be unable to achieve them, just because of that one flaw. Vincent is trying to show her that she is worth more than she thinks, and that it IS possible to overcome that flaw, because he is doing just that. 11.
Vincent: It’s funny, you work so hard, you do everything you can to get away from a place, and when you finally get your chance to leave, you find a reason to stay. 12. Vincent: I’ll never understand what possessed my mother to put her faith in God’s hands, rather than her local geneticist. Vincent will never understand why his mother chose to take a chance with his hereditary “failures” rather than pay to fix them to make him the best he could be by genetically improving his genes. 13. Caesar: Don’t clean the glass too well. Vincent: Why’s That? Caesar: You might get ideas. 14.
Title Card: “Consider God’s handiwork; who can straighten what He hath made crooked? ” – Ecclesiastes 7:13 I believe this quote means “who decides who can correct the imperfections that God gave you? ” Basically, it means that the society’s views (in the movie and in real life) has become so twisted that we feel like we must “fix” what has been purposely made broken. Everyone has imperfections, but we are meant to accept them and live with them. No one is perfect, but people in this film (and in our world) believe that they have the permission to tamper with our genetics in order to make ourselves “better”. 15.
Title Card: “I not only think that we will tamper with Mother Nature, I think Mother wants us to. ” – Willard Gaylin 16. Vincent: [voiceover] Eugene’s burden was of a different variety. His was the burden of perfection. Jerome’s burden was being born perfect, but becoming only second best. Jerome was a natural at everything, and was good at whatever he attempted. This made him unmotivated to do anything. He was born with “an IQ off the register, better than 20/20 vision in both eyes and the heart of an ox”, but in a swimming competition he received only second place, which gave him the mindset of not being good enough.
As said before, he had a very good future with his perfect genes and was supposed to achieve many amazing things, but now, after running in front of a moving car, he was left crippled, and basically all the chances and possibilities of him achieving anything “great”, was thrown out the window. 17. The Mission Director: No one exceeds his potential. Detective: And if he does? The Mission Director: It simply means that we did not accurately gauge his potential in the first place.