Critical reception

Gattaca received positive reviews from critics; the film received an 82% "fresh" rating from Rotten Tomatoes, based on 55 reviews, with a rating average of 7.1/10. The critical consensus states that "Intelligent and scientifically provocative, Gattaca is an absorbing sci fi drama that poses important interesting ethical questions about the nature of science."[15] On Metacritic, the film received "generally favorable reviews" with a score of 64 out of 100.[16] Roger Ebert stated, "This is one of the smartest and most provocative of science fiction films, a thriller with ideas."[17] James Berardinelli praised it for "energy and tautness" and its "thought-provoking script and thematic richness."[18]

Despite critical acclaim, Gattaca was not a box office success but it is said to have crystallized the debate over the controversial topic of human genetic engineering.[19][20][21] The film's dystopian depiction of "genoism" has been cited by many bioethicists and laymen in support of their hesitancy about, or opposition to, eugenics and the societal acceptance of the genetic-determinist ideology that may frame it.[22] In a 1997 review of the film for the journal Nature Genetics, molecular biologist Lee M. Silver stated that "Gattaca is a film that all geneticists should see if for no other reason than to understand the perception of our trade held by so many of the public-at-large".[23]

In 2004, bioethicist James Hughes criticized the premise and influence of the film Gattaca,[24] arguing that:

  1. Astronaut-training programs are entirely justified in attempting to screen out people with heart problems for safety reasons;
  2. In the United States, people are already discriminated against by insurance companies on the basis of their propensities to disease despite the fact that genetic enhancement is not yet available;
  3. Rather than banning genetic testing or genetic enhancement, society needs genetic information privacy laws that allow justified forms of genetic testing and data aggregation, but forbid those that are judged to result in genetic discrimination (such as the U.S. Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act signed into law on May 21, 2008). Citizens should then be able to make a complaint to the appropriate authority if they believe they have been discriminated against because of their genotype.


Award Category Name Outcome
Academy Awards Best Art Direction Jan Roelfs Nancy Nye Nominated
Art Directors Guild Award Excellence in Production Design Jan Roelfs Sarah Knowles Natalie Richards Nominated
Bogey Awards Bogey Award Won
Gérardmer Film Festival Special Jury Prize Andrew Niccol Won
Fun Trophy Won
Golden Globe Awards Best Original Score Michael Nyman Nominated
Hugo Awards Best Dramatic Presentation Andrew Niccol Nominated
London Film Critics' Circle Awards Best Screenwriter of the Year Andrew Niccol Won
Paris Film Festival Grand Prix Nominated
Satellite Awards Best Art Direction and Production Design Jan Roelfs Nominated
Saturn Awards Best Costume Coleen Atwood Nominated
Best Music Michael Nyman Nominated
Best Home Video Release Nominated
Sitges – Catalonian International Film Festival Best Motion Picture Andrew Niccols Won
Best Original Soundtrack Michael Nyman Won

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