The future world of Gattaca, based on the science of genetic discrimination, offers a hostile world for those who believe in a natural birth, or natural selection. Such individuals are rendered “invalid” owing to the inferior nature of their random birth. In this futuristic science fiction thriller, Andrew Niccol creates a science dictatorship, whereby human aspiration is repressed in favour of genetic perfection. It is a Brave New World indeed and proves as Aldous Huxley once stated, “without freedom, human beings cannot become fully human”. In Vincent’s struggle, Niccol celebrates the power of self-belief to inspire individuals to scale the heights.
The world of Gattaca
- Eugenics is the science of producing genetically superior beings through controlled breeding: the purpose of eugenics is to improve society by eliminating defective genes.
- Genetic determinism is the belief that biology is destiny; you cannot overcome the fate of your genes.
- A dystopia is a society where social happiness and freedom have been destroyed.
- There is genetic discrimination between the “valids” (genetically designed individuals) and the “invalids” (the natural-born).
- The main character, Vincent, is not allowed to go to space because of his physical defects, while “designed” people have all the opportunities.
- Although discrimination on genetic grounds is illegal in Gattica, people still discriminate and judge people according to their genes.
- Vincent is a “degenerate”: such individuals are ignored and excluded from most aspects of society. Also his life is limited and he is doomed to “second best” position.
- The director, Niccol, shows that the intangible aspects such as spirituality, love, respect – which are important in our life and in our relationships with others – cannot be determined by genes.
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