Gattaca Discriminatory

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Andrew Niccol's 1997 film Gattaca presents viewers a genetically obsessed, discriminatory society. The film takes place in the "not-too-distant future" where geneticists can eradicate most major health issues pre-conception and parents choose their child's most desirable traits, so they have successful lives (Gattaca). Vincent, played by Ethan Hawke, is a natural born or an "invalid" who becomes a "borrowed ladder" using Jerome Eugene Morrow's identity and flawless genetic specimens (Gattaca). Eugene, played by Jude Law, is a genetically modified ("valid") paraplegic who cannot reconcile being inferior since that violates his impeccable genetic profile (Gattaca). Meanwhile, Vincent becomes involved with Irene Cassini, played by Uma Thurman,…show more content…
Two separate swimming contest scenes between Vincent and his "valid" brother Anton give credence to this claim. During both occasions, Vincent beats Anton and also saves his brother's life (Gattaca). While competing with Vincent, Anton cannot understand his brother's achievements since he is thought inferior and says, "Vincent! How are you doing this Vincent? How have you done any of this?"(Gattaca). Vincent replies, "You wanna know how I did it? This is how I did it Anton. I never saved anything for the swim back" (Gattaca). Vincent should have lost every contest because Anton is genetically superior while he has a heart defect that lessens his physical ability. However, Vincent's actions and comment prove he is willing to risk all, even death, to achieve his dreams and desires because he has the motivation and determination to succeed that comes from his natural personality and is nothing to do with genetic determinism. David A. Kirby, author of the film studies journal article "The New Eugenics in Cinema: Genetic Determinism and Gene Therapy in Gattaca," analyzes Anton's final understanding of Vincent. Kirby reveals, "...[Anton is] confront the fact that the genetically unenhanced Vincent is actually a superior human being, able to excel physically and socially despite his built-in 'flaws'" (7). The film's last scene…show more content…
Even in today's world where genetics are not yet used to enhance human traits, people regard those who excel and expect nothing less than perfection. For example, society already expects those with exceptional athletic and intellectual gifts to push themselves to the edge of accomplishment constantly. If these glorified individuals fail or do not achieve the level of success their parents or society expect of them then they are often looked down upon or made to feel inferior. This would only worsen in a society where parents handpicked traits they hope will predetermine their children's particular set of skills or behaviors. Harvard philosophy professor Michael J. Sandel writes in his article, "The Case against Perfection," "genetic enhancements for musical talent, say, or athletic prowess, would point children toward particular choices, and so designer children would never be fully free" (2). He further claims, "by choosing a child's genetic makeup in advance, parents deny the child's right to an open future" (2). Therefore, Sandel's words make genetic engineering sound like it takes away children's free will to make future choices and leaves their parents in control—a situation ethical and morally wrong. Every human being should have control of making their own decisions regarding their futures and not have parents interfering through scientific means. Children's whose fates are in the hands of geneticist and their parents before conception will

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