I can’t recall a film released to more unanimous critical joy than Gravity, Alfonso Cuarón’s taut chronicle of a space mission gone disastrously awry. Garnering an out-of-this-world 100 percent rating from the review clearinghouse rottentomatoes.com, the film has won ecstatic accolades from critics ranging from A. O. Scott (“It rewrites the rules of cinema as we know them”) to Richard Corliss (“Gravity shows us the glory of cinema’s future…. Cuarón is a movie visionary of the highest order.”)

Cuarón is a protean young director of the will-try-anything kind. I was not a big fan of his 2001 breakthrough movie Y Tu Mamá También, a Mexican road-film-cum-love-triangle-melodrama, and I skipped Prisoner of Azkaban, his 2004 contribution to the Harry Potter saga. But I greatly admired Children of Men, his 2006 dystopian sci-fi thriller, which conjured an unexpected hope for redemption from a panorama of unremitting bleakness. As...

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About the Author

Rand Richards Cooper is Commonweal's contributing editor.