This movie stars Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, but it is all about Sandra. Sandra is 49 years old at this point, and she still brings impressive performance and she is clearly capable of carrying a movie with just a little help from others. This movie is kind of like Cast Away in space.
Sandra plays a specialist who is in space for this particular mission because of her unique capabilities. The problem is that they comment about her coming home from the hospital, so I guess she's an MD, but she was also supposed to have built the communications device, yet she knows nothing about the amateur radio when she makes a contact on Earth. Despite the problems with the character, Sandra does a great job - as you would expect. I will really be surprised if she doesn't get the Academy Award for her role.
George had a slightly bigger part than I had expected, but it still wasn't much. He is the mission commander (presumably) who has his head screwed on right and knows what the hell he's doing. He plays the character well, and he does a fine job of setting her up for success in the role.
The basic concept is that they, along with others, are working on a Space Shuttle when something very. very bad happens. From there, they have to figure out how they will survive. George is the calm in the storm, and Sandra mostly does little more than react to the situations, and it is usually not the right reaction. We spend a lot of time with her, however, and we grow to understand her thought processes.
The special effects are almost entirely CG, and it looks to me like they got a lot of the effects spot on, but there was at least one glaring error that I just couldn't wrap my head around. They go through the process of showing how things work in space and how the physics work, but - at an inopportune time - there is one sport where they just throw physics out the window for dramatic effect. There are actually a few times, but this particular time is a plot point where Sandra has to dump a dragging weight... but there is no drag in space, so it just doesn't make any sense.
All told, the movie was very, very enjoyable.
Acting was great
Directing was great
Effects were great
Cinematography was spectacular