Film: Solaris (2002)

If you think that there is a solution, you'll die here.

Chris : Am I alive, or dead?
Rheya : We don't have to think like that any more. We're together now. Everything we've done is forgiven. Everything.

"We don't want to conquer space at all. We want to expand Earth endlessly. We don't want other worlds. We want a mirror."

American adaptation of Stanislaw Lem's 1961 science fiction novel Solaris, written and directed by Steven Soderbergh, produced by James Cameron, and starring George Clooney.

Chris Kelvin is a future psychiatrist on Earth, where he is eking out an existence after the death of his significant other, Rheya. Out of the blue he gets a call from an old friend/coworker of his, Gibarian. The crew of the station Solaris doesn't seem to want to come home, and they have lost contact with the security team they sent. Gibarian puts a good word in for Chris with the crew, and the latter goes to Solaris to try and fix things. Weirdness ensues.

Solaris (2002) provides examples of the following tropes:

  • All Just a Dream: Towards the end of the film, a sequence occurs with Chris that is revealed as this, then reverts to the original position in time.
  • Driven to Suicide: Rheya and Gibarian are driven to this.
  • Gender Flip / Race Lift: Sartorius is replaced by a completely different character, a black woman named Gordon.
  • Genius Loci: The planet orbited by Solaris is actually a single, living being—or at least the ocean that covers it is. It also responds to the memories of humans.
  • Jerk Ass: Gordon, though she comes off a lot more sympathetically than her counterpart in the 1972 movie, Sartorius.
  • Ironic Echo: "And death shall have no dominion."
  • Living Emotional Crutch: Rheya needs Chris as one of these.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: The advertising campaign for this movie made it seem like it was a love story...IN SPACE!. And the fact that it had George Clooney suggested it was a lighthearted romp at most. Audiences went to see this film expecting a love story with the always fun and charming George Clooney only to find that it was a dead serious, psychological drama.
  • Scenery Porn: The few shots of the planet qualify.
  • Soulless Shell: An interesting case. Rheya's manifestation claims that that's all she is. Gordon agrees. Kevin thinks so at first, but as the film goes on he seems to reject this hypothesis. copy!Snow acts like he agrees with Gordon, but is one of these manifestations himself.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": In the original film, Chris is "Kris", Rheya's name is "Hari", Snow is "Snaut" and Gordon is "Sartorius". Translations of the novel seem to cycle through the two sets, but "Sartorius" remains fairly consistently NOT Gordon.
  • Starts with a Suicide: Sort of—it's presented in flashbacks instead of at the start of the film.
  • Why Don't Ya Just Shoot Him?: Discussed, with respect to the manifestations aboard the Station. Gordon does construct a machine that does the job, but Chris objects at the idea of using it on Rheya.