I had been put off this film initially because the key ethical dilemma had been framed as deeply troublesome from a gender perspective. In actually watching the film, I think it does a good job being self-reflective on the issue. Further, in contemplating this central decision, that of Jim (Chris Pratt) opting to wake up Aurora (Jennifer Lawrence) out of hopes for a romantic relationship, I actually think it is justifiable. I'm sure Kant would be stridently against waking someone up for any reason, because clearly that person would be used as a means to an end. But as someone more generally drawn to utilitarian ethics, I reckon the benefit to Jim in remedying his loneliness is greater than what Aurora stands to lose. Importantly, the film builds their relationship so that it stands on a real chemistry and not simply the coercion of no alternatives. So ultimately this interesting ethical posture, combined with some neat effects made it a fairly satisfying bit of sci-fi for me.
Two alternatives that might have made this more palatable: have a woman be the first one awake and deciding whether to wake a man so that the ethical question is distanced from the legacy of patriarchal control; or have her contemplate waking a different guy.
Both would be super interesting. It does seem like a scenario you could keep running again and again and get a good movie out of it. That is, assuming the ship wasn't doomed, which it was.
How does one measure the ethics of a decision when in hindsight it saved the whole ship. Everyone would have died had Pratt decided to live alone (or commit suicide), because all the later malfunctions still would have happened, and no second pair of hands would have been available to help him. I get that that feels like a get out of jail free card, written into the moral dilemma, but is it really a that much of a cheat? I mean if you buy the ship malfunctioning to wake up Pratt, then is it any more of a stretch to say that many more of the ships functions would also go haywire later? How much is the writer really playing god?
In terms of Lawrence forgiving Pratt, I imagine that later reality of having avoided certain death probably played a part. I would love to have read that book she was writing, and get to the part where she covers all of that... and if she ever does fully get over it. Because it's a pretty big thing to try and get over.