1 h 46 min1997X-RayHDRUHDPG-13
Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman star in this futuristic sci-fi thriller about a world where genetic engineering is used to perfect the human species.
Andrew Niccol
Ethan HawkeUma ThurmanAlan Arkin
Science FictionSuspense
English [CC]
Audio languages
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Supporting actors
Jude LawLoren DeanErnest Borgnine
Michael ShambergStacey SherDanny DeVito
Columbia Pictures
PG-13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
Content advisory
Smokingalcohol usenudityfoul languagesexual contentviolence
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4.6 out of 5 stars

5485 global ratings

  1. 76% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 14% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 7% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 2% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 2% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

DaveReviewed in the United States on April 17, 2016
4.0 out of 5 stars
Twists and Turns
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This review is for "Gattaca."

Gattaca is a tale of genetic engineering. It isn't about those who are genetically engineered, rather about one person who wasn't. Vincent Freeman, played by Ethan Hawke, is a natural born person. A "God Child" as they say in the film. All he desires in life is to travel to space, but is aware that it will be impossible due to the fact that he was naturally born, and therefore has vision and heart problems. He later finds Jerome Morrow, played by Jude Law, and uses his DNA to fool the system. Eventually, he does make it to space.

This film contains plenty of twists and turns. There are numerous times when you expect Vincent to be caught, but somehow he manages. This is not a movie filled with action, but contains an in depth, gripping story instead. I recommend this movie to sci-fi, thriller, and drama fans alike. There is enough of a love story that my girlfriend enjoyed it, but not so much that it took over the story.
40 people found this helpful
Amazon CustomerReviewed in the United States on April 1, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
very well made and suspenful
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In the not too distant future, children are practically engineered for birth, by taking the best genetic traits of their parents. People are rated based on their genetic potential. Vincent, who was conceived the old fashioned way, has a hard time being accepted to society, and despite his best efforts, he can't get to an elite space program. He ends up assuming the identity of another, one who has a superior genetic score. However, a murder of one of the employees at Gattaca, the space agency, brings unwarranted attention from law enforcement, and jeopardizes his efforts.

An excellent movie, in my opinion. It is all about the plot and acting - no special effects or anything of the kind. It is slow pacing perhaps, but also highly suspenful.
16 people found this helpful
Todd7Reviewed in the United States on October 29, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars
Interesting Story, Organic Characters
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Gattaca (1997) is a sci-fi film that is thought-provoking, as it has you questioning your place in the world. What I love about this film is that it doesn't try to do too much; most sci-fi films indulge in special effects or exotic characters, with some exceptions (2001: A Space Odyssey comes to mind as an exception). This film, however, has some interesting settings and neat lighting in many scenes that gives the film a 'tint'. In this film, the characters are very organic and have an abundance of emotion, so I didn't care about exotic locations or special effects, though they're sprinkled in. The plot is easy to follow, and that's what drew me in. The storyline or subject matter sort of reminds me of Blade Runner, and the sets are futuristic, but not dystopian, like Blade Runner. Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, Jude Law, Alan Arkin, etc. turn in fantastic performances in their respective roles. This is a film about sheer determination, and realizing ones dream, though it's achieved in unethical fashion, but I didn't care because I believed in the performances of the actors. I also appreciated the occasional humor and memorable dialogue. I respect this extremely underrated sci-fi film that bombed at the box office (despite critical acclaim), and am happy to see that it's getting the respect it deserves as a cult classic years later. The special features are the standard 'making of', deleted scenes, original featurette, etc. The picture quality is pristine, and the sound is clear, though it's on the lower side, so adjust your volume accordingly.
15 people found this helpful
Stephanie SullivanReviewed in the United States on July 12, 2019
3.0 out of 5 stars
Shallow Science Fiction, Stretches Suspension Of Disbelief, Not A "Thriller" As Described
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I don't get Gattaca. I get the premise of a genetically engineered future and the recurring theme of a pervasive underclass. I get the assumption of identity plot element. I get the premise of some kind of corporate space program. What I don't get is how putting it together in this way makes any sense. It stretches my suspension of disbelief to its limits.

A lot of what I find problematic is how everyone appears to be working on a MBA or in some corporate accounting department. Everyone in business suits, even while being shot into space in some rocket!?!? It seems the only way the "genetically gifted" have to distinguish themselves is by wearing suits. Yeah, like good cowboys wear white hats the genetically "not gifted" wear jump suits. That sort of heavy handed imagery is used throughout the movie and I found it distracting and annoying.

Throughout the movie there is no real discussion about why Vincent wants to go into space. If he wants it so bad I'd think he would be talking about all the time. This is indicative of most of the movie for me. It's very shallow with 2 dimensional characters and only the most simple motivations. I like to have a little more development of motivations and just depth.

The pace of the movie is slow and plodding with scenes that often have dissonant elements that are presented in harmony (like going to space in business suits) . I kept wanting to skip forward for some plot point that would move the story forward a little more deliberately.

Two bright spots for me are Gore Vidal and Alan Arkin. Vidal was pretty much himself which I tend to find entertaining. Alan Arkin always turns in a great performance and I think he is great the detective in this movie.

I can't recommend Gattaca as a "science fiction thriller". If you like a identity change plot that is kind of slow and plodding and emotional/relationship focused this may be your movie. It's not mine. That's why I'm only giving it 3 stars. Yes, it's watchable, but not something I'll watch again.
5 people found this helpful
Photo Film ClubReviewed in the United States on July 2, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
A beautifully artistic, futuristic, sci-fi love story
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The most striking thing about this film is its artistic quality and "Hitchcock-esque" feel. This film is full of symmetry which makes it visually pleasing while at the same time exposing the inequality in imbalance of human existence in a society where only perfect people matter, and where "We now have discrimination down to a science".

The story follows the life of Vincent, a young boy who dreams of going into space. One day he finds himself assuming the identity of Jerome (played by Jude Law), a genetically engineered person who, because of a tragic accident, is now crippled. Throughout the film, Vincent must use Jerome's DNA to continually fool others into believing that he is actually Jerome, thereby enabling him to secure a job with Gattaca, a space agency much like our NASA.

Along the way Vincent meets Irene (Uma Thurman) and falls in love. As things progress, and Vincent nears the date of his launch, a murder takes place at the agency, and a sweep for DNA clues leads authorities to investigate Vincent as a possible suspect. Though he and Jerome are able to thwart the authorities, they remain suspicious of him and, just days before Vincent's launch into space, an eventual meeting takes place between Vincent and one of the investigators, who just happens to be a person from his past. Vincent also finds himself torn between his dream of becoming a space man and his newfound love for Irene.

In the final scenes, the pieces of Vincent's life come together, and like a beautiful sonata, bring the story to a beautiful and moving conclusion.

This film is clearly a work of art, and filled with quotes which will forever cement it in our hearts and memories. My favorite of all, "They say every atom in our bodies was once part of a star...Maybe I'm not leaving...Maybe I'm going home".

Though this film didn't do very well at the box office, it has since become quite a cult classic, and for very good reason. If you appreciate fine art, photography and filmmaking, then you will love this film. This is definitely one to add to the movie library, and should be required viewing for anyone with a pulse.
4 people found this helpful
Jeffrey JonasReviewed in the United States on April 26, 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
It's not 1984 but too close for comfort.
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When I returned to college for my masters' degree, my first course was Ubiquitous Computing.
About 1/3 of the course was watching movies about "the future as we saw it", particularly how computers and technology would integrate into everyday life. We watched only selected scenes, so I got the DVD to watch it all (no, I didn't get extra credit).

Gattaca is too close to reality, particularly today's pervasive surveillance such as facial recognition. While daily blood samples seem far fetched, bio-metrics are deeply integrated into security systems such as cellphones (fingerprint reader, facial recognition) and even timeclocks (hand geometry).
The stores and billboards reacting to each person is already here with the way web sites attempt to guess what you desire by using AI and "recommender systems" to anticipate your buying habits. That's how Amazon and Google suggest things for you before you even complete typing!

This movie is a good warning of the "Big Brother" future we MIGHT face, if we let it :-(
5 people found this helpful
joel wingReviewed in the United States on December 30, 2020
2.0 out of 5 stars
Never gets interesting
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The story takes place in a future where people are genetically engineered. They get to pick their traits before they are even conceived. Those who are considered defective become a permanent underclass and are given the lowest jobs in society. Ethan Hawke as Vincent was born with all kinds of imperfections so he posed as someone else Jerome Morrow and joined the Gattaca Corporation with dreams of going into outer space which he’d wanted to do since childhood. The story revolves around whether he will be discovered or not.

The problem is that the plot never seems to develop. When a police investigation is started that might expose Vincent it doesn’t seem like anything important happens. He just goes about his day to day activities. It’s not until the last third that something finally develops and even then it isn’t interesting. As a result, the climax with its message about genetics don’t matter just the person fails to deliver.
One person found this helpful
CharlesReviewed in the United States on May 16, 2016
2.0 out of 5 stars
Squandered Potential
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The first 30 minutes or so of Gattaca are pretty great. We're introduced to a not-so-distant (and relatively plausible) future world where "natural" birth is performed in vitro under the guidance of geneticists who carefully engineer/select the most genetically gifted and healthy zygote. From birth, people are identified and defined entirely by their genetic makeup and the diseases to which they are or are not predisposed. The film does a really great job of exploring the philosophical, moral, and legal implications of such a society, and the resultant discrimination that "invalids" - those who are born in vivo - face both in their health insurance and job prospects. There's also a nice underlying message that is touched upon: often times the best person for a job may not be the absolute smartest or healthiest candidate, but the one who is the most passionate about the work.

It really is a shame though that, after a great setup, the story the film actually delivers is that of a by-the-numbers, mediocre sci-fi thriller. A good hour or so of the film's hour and 45 minutes is spent on a string of close-calls where our protagonist - an "invalid" posing as a "valid" in hopes of fulfilling his dream of space travel - evades authorities who are on his trail. That's pretty much it. There is barely any character development that occurs during this section of the film (or even after for that matter) and the juiciness of the world and its moral implications is neglected in favor of underwhelming "thrills" as Ethan Hawke thinks on his feet to evade being discovered.

Uma Thurman is given essentially nothing to do. At the outset, she is a relatively intriguing character - possibly another invalid posing as a valid - and there seems to be promise of future development where we learn more about her. Instead, her character ultimately amounts to a love interest for Hawke so that we can have a melodramatic scene towards the finale backed by a sappy string arrangement. Her character goes nowhere and ends up being completely flat.

Finally, there's that ever-so-necessary plot twist at the end of the film which I won't spoil, but feels extremely contrived and implausible. And even if it wasn't so contrived, the revelation ultimately doesn't even amount to much of anything in terms of character or plot development. It's basically just used for a laughably "climactic" scene which is meant to mirror a scene from earlier in the film. It all just ends up feeling cartoony.

Still, credit where credit is due. At the very least, Gattaca did have some interesting ideas and a well-realized vision of the future that felt very plausible and saved the film from being absolutely awful. After a great opening though, it devolved into a flat thriller which ultimately nose-dived at the finale, squandering the potential it had to be a great, thought-provoking sci-fi film.
9 people found this helpful
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