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Solaris

Solaris title card

Year - 2002
Studio - Twentieth Century Fox, Lightstorm Entertainment
Stars - George Clooney, Natascha McElhone, Viola Davis, Jeremy Davies, Ulrich Tukur
Director - Steven Soderbergh
Writing Credits - Stanislaw Lem (novel), Steven Soderbergh (screenplay)
Music - Cliff Martinez

Synopsis

Psychologist Chris Kelvin (George Clooney) is shown a video message from his friend, Gibarian (Ulrich Tukur), a member of the team aboard the space station orbiting the planet Solaris. Gibarian requests that he travel to the space station to investigate strange phenomena there. When he arrives, he discovers that Gibarian has committed suicide, and that the only remaining crew are Snow (Jeremy Davies) and Gordon (Viola Davis). While the quirky Snow doesn't offer any definitive information, Gordon is paranoid and fearful.

Soon, Chris discovers that there are two other occupants of the station - Givarian's young son (Shane Skelton), and his own, late wife, Rheya (Natascha McElhone).

Solaris poster

While the shocked Chris attempts to comprehend his situation, Rheya confesses that she has little memory of who she is, but pleads that she loves Chris. Gordon explains to him that Rheya is not real, that Solaris is an organic, intelligent force that has created her from Chris's thoughts. Despondent, Chris tricks Rheya into getting into a pod, and sends her off into space. But as he continues to think and dream about her, she again appears. His love for her is too strong, and he is determined to be with her.

Gordon and Snow devise a device that they believe will destroy Rheya and any other Solaris-generated beings. But Chris insists that he will not allow that to happen. He desperately tries to stay awake to prevent it but finally falls asleep. When he awakes, Rheya is gone, apparently having gone voluntarily to Gordon to be vaporized. Then Chris and Gordon discover the body of the actual Snow, and realize that they've been dealing with, like Rheya, a copy. He warns them that the gravitational pull of Solaris is about to envelop the space station and that there is only time to escape on its shuttle. As Gordon prepares the ship to leave, Chris hesitates, then turns back to the doomed space station. As it merges with Solaris, Rheya appears to him and they embrace. Chris tearfully asks, "Am I alive or dead?" and Rheya replies, "We don't have to think like that any more."

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Solaris is a retelling of Stanislaw Lem's novel, with the first film adaptation having been made by the great Russian director, Andrei Tarkovsky.