Film Analysis of the Movie Gattaca


Gattaca is the America science fiction cinema of 1997 directed and written by Andrew Niccol. The movie presents the biopunk dream of the future community driven by eugenics where children are conceived via genetic influence to make sure that they have paramount heritable behaviors of their parents (Niccol, 2015). Moreover, the film revolves around Vincent Freeman casted by Hawke who was born outside the eugenics system and struggles to surpass genetic discrimination to identify his vision of moving into space. Additionally, the cinema draws concerns over the reproduction technologies and possible results such as technological progression for society. Characters in Gattaca are in a continuous fight both with themselves and society to recognize their position in the globe and who they are ordained to be based on their genes (DeVito, Shamberg, Sher, & Thurman, 2013). The paper analyzes the movie by exploring on various aspects such as imagery, literary elements, allegory, themes and plot summary.

Plot Summary

Gattaca is the futuristic city and the research center dealing with the aerospace study but has some important traits such as hiring individuals with genetic approach perfection. The drama takes place in the near future where inventions such as genetics have developed and solved the mystery of human genome and DNA (DeVito et al., 2013). In this world, Vincent who is a natural kid has the vision of traveling to space and Jerome who sees his life ruined by accident are present illustrating the life for valid and invalid. Both Jerome and Vincent allow each other t overcome the rules of Gattaca and get what they want. There is another character known as Irene Cassini who fall in love with Vincent despite her perfect design and tries to find who she is through DNA test (Niccol, 2015). However, the narration is complicated since the center’s director is assassinated and one of Freeman’s eyelashes found invalid.

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The film is made of various themes including discrimination, utopia, and dystopia, human spirit and flaws as well as religion and science. The community in Gattaca is utopian on the surface since via science people can rid the globe out of illness and disease (Niccol, 2015). Besides, the film presents dystopian society since Jerome’s tragic and plight end depicts that living for the valid is on the real perfect (DeVito et al., 2013). Furthermore, the Gattaca society illustrates to be non-meritocracy because a person’s self-merit is calculated by their genetic structure. For discrimination, people are segregated based on their genetic code since natural people are inferior while those that are genetically engineered form the elite part of the community.

Besides, Gattaca celebrates the significant of human spirit since the society is dictated by conventions and rules hence Vincent can only attain his dreams through determination and will power. Vincent represents influential notions such as perseverance and humanity while his victory depicts the humanity success over science (Niccol, 2015). Nevertheless, the community in Gattaca is preoccupied with the aims for human perfection and removal of human flaws. Therefore, the society is founded on eugenics hence the changing of the genes to eradicate illness and disease as well as to promote intelligence, beautyand strength (Niccol, 2015). The society is inherently flawed as it is founded on oppression, discrimination, and judgment which illustrates that humanity contains flaws and faults and it is impossible to change. Additionally, the cinema contains science as the theme which plays the big role as the society is built upon technology prevalent and scientific ideas to establish the futuristic community (DeVito et al., 2013). Moreover, religion theme is illustrated by the biblical reference to the book of Ecclesiastes. The movie presents the weak association between religion and science since the community’s over-dependency on scientific principles has undermined spirituality and religion.

Allegory, Symbols and Motifs

The film is full of symbols, motifs and allegories such as water, rubbish, symbolic names, hair, skin and nails as well as the human spirit. The rubbish motif is utilized to symbolize the predicament of the invalids as Vincent worked as the janitor before adopting the identity of Jerome. The images of water appear in all parts of the film which symbolizes transformation and transition particularly the social status of Vincent from invalid to valid (Niccol, 2015). Besides, the staircase in the Jerome and Vincent’s apartment are spiral-shaped representing the structure of the double –helix in the DNA. Also, the spiral staircase is a powerful symbol for humanity and life which are key themes in the movie. The allegory of the human spirit is present in the film since the rise of Vincent is celebrated despite several obstacles (DeVito et al., 2013).


The cinema is made of several imageries entailing the evocative natural, scientific, clinical, fire, costuming and Jerome’s medal. The fire images are utilized throughout the movie as the symbol of destruction and traces of inferior for invalid individuals. Costuming is used to stress the social segregation since it depicts the stark contrast between the invalids and valids (Niccol, 2015). In the Gattaca Institute, the elite wore suits to indicate success while invalids wore grey jumpsuits illustrating low standing in the community. Furthermore, the scientific imagery plays a big role in Gattaca as it is seen in various close-ups on scientific equipment, spaceships, and machines (DeVito et al., 2013). Various scenes of Jerome’s medal indicate the irony of his failure and a strong symbol of inherited flaws in the society.

Literary Elements

The beginning mood and tone are harsh, didactic and clinical to emphasize the absence of humanity as a result of stress on genetic engineering. However, the end mood and tone is tremendously optimistic as Vincent is victorious against all the odds. Besides, the protagonist in the film is Vincent who is the invalid while the antagonist is Anton his brother who treats him as inferior and warns to thwart when he attempted to get into Gattaca institute (Niccol, 2015). Moreover, the major conflict is found at the murder scene where Vincent’s eyelash was found although he tried to remove the traces of inferior. Other literary elements found in the cinema include foreshadowing, climax, innovations, and understatement as well as the paradox, allusion and parallelism (DeVito et al., 2013). The Vincent’s victory when swimming foreshadows his ultimate triumph at the end as well as the success of human spirit against science.


In conclusion, Gattaca is the science narrative film without impressive special effects or fighting since it favors the ideas instead of form. The movie wants to reflect on eugenics and human freedom for inventions. Besides, the movie contains various themes such as utopia and dystopia, discrimination, science, human spirit and other aspects that exist in the modern society. Moreover, the cinema is full of various literary elements such as climax, foreshadowing, conflict, allusion, paradox and many others. Also, the cinema is made of imagery to support themes and send messages comprising water, fire, costuming and Jerome’s medal.



DeVito, D., Shamberg, M., Sher, S., & Thurman, U. (2013). Gattaca. Chatsworth, Calif.]; Bethesda, MD: Image Entertainment ; Distributed by RLJ Entertainment. Retrieved from

Niccol, A. (2015). Gattaca Background | GradeSaver. Retrieved from