Alfonso Cuarón’s movie Gravity is about a disastrous space shuttle mission. Medical doctor Ryan Stone (played by Sandra Bullock) and veteran astronaut Matt Kowalski (played by George Clooney) try to make their way back to Earth. Amid their struggle to survive, the two discuss the death of Stone’s daughter in a schoolyard accident. The Century’s media columnists Kath­ryn Reklis, Jason Byassee and Beth Felker Jones discussed the film with editor Amy Fryk­holm.

Amy Frykholm: How important was the setting of space to this film? Could the same story have been set underwater or in a desert?

Kathryn Reklis: For me, the setting of space was far more important than the story. Earth was a recognizable mystery floating in a disorienting infinity. More than a backdrop, it was a presence that I experienced as alien and intimate. I could recognize landmarks, but I could not fully reckon it as my home.