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Discrimination has become an issue of concern to everybody. It makes one character neglected and at times as if cursed. It has posed a serious threat to many who suffer this prejudice especially on social places and institutions. This involves a certain social behavior that directed to members of a group such as, restricting and excluding them from accessing certain opportunities that are available to a certain group of people. Therefore, it has become an issue of concern that neglect and discrimination becomes a source of unhappiness to a given group and class of persons.
This is a review if the movie Gattacca that featured in the 1997 American films. In this film, the concept of happiness is portrayed in various aspects. DNA and technology plays the crucial role in determining the different social classes that exist. Some social classes are critical in determining a person’s satisfaction in life and the relation of people around. The different social stratification composed chiefly of three basic layers; the lower class, the middle class and the upper class. In addition, further subdivision is evident. In each class, as categorized by occupation, power and influence that one has on others. The upper level seems to be one of the happiest classes due to the value that people from the other minor social classes produce in them. The classes bring immense deal of powers viewed by the elites as within their own society.
Theories of political and social class with greater powers tend to tighten their own ranking over the lower classes in the power hierarchy to the disadvantage of the overall society. The highest social classes are the capitalists said to own the means of production compared to the larger working class who sell their own labor for peanuts. The third class members find themselves in a situation like this due to various reasons, some due to health challenges while others it is because of the situation they find themselves into.
On the other hand, in the classless or the non-stratified societies the concept of social class, hierarchy and power is not present. In most situations, every person almost has an equal standing with one another. The social classes bring group membership where non members viewed as social outcasts. The members emphasize on their distinct class lifestyle that makes them appear more satisfied and happier than non-members. The use of technology is a basic determinant of the social class that someone belongs. For this reason, we analyze the circumstance under which the main character of the film undergoes in the society of his birth.
Vincent Freeman in the film developed quite a number of problems as a result of the parents’ failure to adopt the technology that existed with relation to conception, birth, and health. They had so much faith in the natural system of birth that they eventually regret it when they apply genetic selection to his younger brother (Anton), and come out of any deformities. According to Vincent Freeman’s parents, their happiness got achieved when they got convinced that the use of technology will do away with their current problems.
In this regard, Vincent is myopic, with heart defects and extremely low projected life expectancy; Anton’s abilities are more outstanding than his. When it comes to playing games, swimming, Antonio always emerged the winner due to better physical stamina compared to the rest. The dream of Vincent is something to do with a space career but whoever he shares his dream with; it got shuttered down when each and everyone reminds him of his genetic inferiority. This makes him unhappy person and due to this effect, since it was not his fault to appear in the class of the less-able. At one instance in their advanced age, Vincent decides to challenge Anton in a ‘chicken’ game that involved a bit of deep swimming. This time he swims far than his brother could do. Anton became unable to bear with the challenge and runs into trouble where he starts to drown. The only Vincent comes for his rescue and takes him home. The joy of success this time appears to be revived in the heart of Vincent and his hope returns him.
As a result of much prejudice and genetic discrimination in the frequent screening processes, he gets retarded from becoming an astronaut. He decides to achieve his dream and fight his humiliation and hence become happier in life like other human. He impersonates a valid genetic profile when he assumes the identity of Jerome who was a former star in swimming, and latter got involved in a car accident which paralyzed part his body. He buys all the identity of Jerome including hair, tissue, blood DNA, and urine before going for the screening test. It was later revealed that Jerome had not been involved in the accident, but he wanted to commit suicide by jumping off the screen. What had led to Jerome’s unhappiness that made him decide to make a suicide decision may be the same as what Vincent experienced. For there to be a social satisfaction among the group Vincent is working with in Gattacca Aerospace Vincent has to replace all the genetic materials with those of Jerome on a daily basis.
Vincent manages to become amongst the top space navigators, and he is one of the selected to man a spacecraft to Titan, a Saturn moon. He encounters a problem a week before the actual day of the launch when the managing director of the company dies in office. He becomes the most likely suspect due to his disguised eye-lashes. Security measures are beefed up as the launch date nears, and he keeps on evading the security personnel in order to be safe. His joy and happiness subsides day by day due to the uncertainty of whether he will make it to the space. In the course of preparation, he encounters Irene who appears slightly jealous. He comes to learn that this is because of her high likelihood of heart failure that makes her avoid much interaction with others. She cannot afford to have a good time with other people in the surrounding as they seem to be perfect and happy about themselves whereas to her, much of concern is to her health and safety. She gets happy to know that her co-worker Vincent also suffers from the burden of genetic perfection. This was only after numerous calls when she sees the real Vincent and come to like him for who he is. He feels his worth revamps in him. Towards the end of the investigation, it turns out unexpectedly that one of his close directors got arrested with connection to the murder.
As Vincent appears to be done with the investigation, a young chief detective confronts him and reveals himself as Anton. He accuses Vincent of unworthiness in his place at Gattacca. This makes him feel demeaned and offers to prove to the detective of his real worth. Vincent kicks Anton whom in a second time wants to have the rescue of his brother. Anton becomes astonished by how that got done, but Vincent respond to his quest tells him that he that he did not save the strength for the back swim. At this time, Vincent seems to have all the joy of living that he had always aspired to have in life.
On the launch day, Jerome and Vincent happily bid each other farewell. Vincent reveals to Vincent that he had carried enough genetic samples that required to last for about two lifetimes. Jerome is extremely grateful and gives Vincent a card on condition, that he will open it when he reaches the space since he had lent him his dream. Before he reaches the launch site, he is stopped for the last urine test unexpectedly. At once, he remembers that he has not carried with him of Jerome’s urine to hide his test as he had thought that there will be no more tests. The results disclose Vincent’s identity, but the doctor conducting the tests reveals he had known him well; this is because, he did it on his first time at Gattaca’s. The doctor reminds Vincent how he had always wished to tell him, how his son admires him, and has also wanted to be an astronaut in spite of a genetic imperfection that can rule him out. However, the doctor allows Vincent to proceed. It turns out be Vincent’s last hurdle of life, the climax of his dream.
As the rocket lifts off the space, Vincent opens the card only to find no word written on it but just a hair sample. Once he is back to earth, he climbs his home and puts on his medal that incinerates himself. He is sad to leave the earth although he expected this and wonders to himself, "maybe I am not leaving and maybe I am only going home."
In this context, the issue of happiness can be brought to light as a causal effect of health and social class that one belongs. The social understanding of happiness is assumed to be of those high up in the social ladder and who are of perfect health. The challenge lies on a person to declare his/her own identity and make the dream come true contrary to the thoughts of many.