When I first saw Gravity, it was in theatres. It was breathtaking - literally. Between the intense music that went deep into my core, the dizzying special effects and CGI, and Sandra Bullock's performance, my heart stayed lodged in my throat the whole 1.5 hours, while my hands clutched my armrests until my knuckles turned white. Upon re-watching recently, I came to realize that writers Alfonso (also director) and Jonás Cuarón had created one of the most positive representation of a woman in STEM on screen so far.
In the film, Dr. Ryan Stone, a biomedical engineer and space mission specialist who specializes in medical X-ray imaging devices, has been sent to space for a week by NASA to install a scanning device on the Hubble Telescope. As she and her crew mates, including veteran astronaut Dr. Matt Kowalski (George Clooney), are on a space walk working on an installation on the (fictional) Explorer shuttle, they receive word that a Russian satellite has self-destructed, causing the Kessler effect, or collisional cascading. Mission Control back on Earth orders them to abort the installation and return to their craft, but it is too late. Space debris traveling at over 50,000mph strikes the Explorer Satellite, and Dr. Stone and Kowalski become detached from the craft. The rest is a race against dwindling oxygen supplies, and un-tethered spacewalks from space station to space station as Dr. Stone tries to stay alive and get back to Earth.