Genre: Sci Fi
Directed by Steven Soderbergh
Starring George Clooney, Natascha McElhone, and Viola Davis
This isn’t a sci-fi movie like any you’ve seen before because the genre doesn’t define the movie. 2001: A Space Odyssey had to take place in space. It was central to the story. Science isn’t central to Solaris, human emotions are. It’s a movie that looks at how an individual deals with grief, the loss of someone close to them, and how that emotion can make a false reality desirable.
George Clooney plays Dr. Chris Kelvin, a clinical psychologist who is called on to rescue a mission aboard a space station orbiting a newly discovered planet. A mysterious transmission from the space station, from a scientist-friend of Dr. Kelvins, states that something weird is happening and only Dr. Kelvin can help. Dr. Kelvin agrees and we quickly learn all is not right. People are dead and the ones alive are acting… weird. After his first night, Dr. Kelvin awakes with his dead wife lying next to him, except she’s alive and doesn’t know how she got there. That’s the weird that all members aboard the space station are experiencing.
It’s a great concept, adapted from a novel of the same name by Stanislaw Lem. What if someone you lost came back? What if you could see them, feel them, tests showed that they were composed of molecules and had brain waves and were real human beings and not figments of your imagination? That’s why this movie isn’t defined by its genre. It’s not a movie about science. It’s a movie about human emotions and just how much power a human being is willing to give them, even when it goes against all other personally accepted dogma. When given the option of a painful reality or a desired fantasy, what would you choose?