Although critics noted inaccuracies in the film,Gravity was praised for its scientific realism.
Astrophysicist Tom Jones said Gravity is the most realistic space film made in the past several decades and Alfonso Cuarón, the film's director, at one point wanted to be an astronaut.
Reaction from Astronauts
The most telling opinions on Gravity come from those who have experienced the realities of space travel. Astronaut Michael J. Massimino praised the film noting that, “nothing was out of place, nothing was missing.“ He went on to highlight the exceptional attention to detail: “There was a one-of-a-kind wirecutter we used on one of my spacewalks and sure enough they had that wirecutter in the movie.” Massimo also complimented the filmmakers on how "someone did their homework", claiming that everything was exactly the way it was when he was up in space, which brought back many fond memories for him. Buzz Aldrin, the second human to set foot on the Moon, commented that when watching the film he was, “so extravagantly impressed by the portrayal of the reality of zero gravity.” Aldrin also noted that the film depicts an entirely possible and extremely dangerous accident stating that, “we’ve been fortunate that people haven’t been in those situations yet. I think it reminds us that there really are hazards in the space business, especially in activities outside the spacecraft.” Astronaut Garrett Reisman also praised the film’s realism and accurate portrayal of space travel. He adds, "I was so extravagantly impressed by the portrayal of the reality of zero gravity. Going through the space station was done just the way that I've seen people do it in reality. The spinning is going to happen—maybe not quite that vigorous—but certainly we've been fortunate that people haven't been in those situations yet. I think it reminds us that there really are hazards in the space business, especially in activities outside the spacecraft." Astronaut Dr. Cady Coleman was also an advisor to Sandra Bullock and the production, so was retired astronaut Andy Thomas and NASA astrophysicist Kevin Grazier.
Neil DeGrasse Tyson, who criticised the film's few inaccuracies, also praised how well it did zero-gravity and said that only truly good motion pictures earn the right to have their few inaccuracies dissected, claiming it is very easy to notice flaws in bad movies but harder to notice them in films that suck you into the story. Many astronauts not only enjoyed the film but appreciated how it was able to rekindle the public interest in space travel.
- Depiction of zero-gravity in space
- Astronauts chatting during spacewalks
- Recreation of spacesuits (including one designed specifically for re-entry)
- Recreation of space shuttle
- Recreation of space stations
- Recreation of the HST
- Recreation of the view from outer space
- Recreation of constellations
- Recreation of tools used in missions
- Inclusion of Canadarm and Manned Maneuvering Unit
- Role of a mission specialist accurately portrayed
- Usage of landing rockets
- Manual usage in the Soyuz capsule
- Recreation of buttons and technology inside the space stations
- 90 minute orbital time for objects at that altitude
- Re-entry trails of disintegrated satellites
- Clooney’s calm, under-stress character, realistic because only the best people are picked to be astronauts.
- Vibrations heard within spacesuits.
- Images from orbit transitioning from day to twilight to nighttime
- Geography and light patterns on Earth as seen from space
- Aurora Borealis (northern lights) visible in the distance over the polar regions
- Thinness of Earth’s atmosphere relative to Earth’s size
- Persistent conservation of angular and linear momentum
- How someone adjusts to gravity on Earth after being in space
- The speed of oncoming debris, if in fact it were to collide at orbital velocity
- Transition from silence to sound between an unpressurized and a pressurized airlock
- Tears and fire retaining spherical shapes
- Kowalski pronounces "Soyuz" correctly
- Depiction of space exposure, although the corpses wouldn't have been frozen right away.
- Sound of radio broadcasts in space.
- “The film Gravity depicts a scenario of catastrophic satellite destruction that can actually happen.”-Neil DeGrasse Tyson
- Even though it was only a hallucination, Stone actually would have survived if Kowalski had actually opened the door to the Soyuz and quickly restored the pressure and oxygen flow to the capsule, because the human body can sustain temporary exposure to a vacuum so long as conditions are quickly stabalized.