How well do you remember Solaris?

By: Torrance Grey
Image: tmdb

About This Quiz

This 2002 psychological drama set in space had critics applauding and audiences scratching their heads! Now, test your knowledge of this sci-fi gem with our quiz!

What is Solaris?

Solaris is, in a way, the "star" of the film. It's a mysterious blue-purple entity threaded with what look like electrical currents, and it may be alive and thinking.

Who wrote the novel on which "Solaris" was based?

Lem's novel has been filmed three times. He was critical of this 2002 American adaptation, saying it focused too heavily on the romantic relationship between the two leads.

Who played Chris Kelvin?

Kelvin lives alone in a very modern apartment in Chicago. He is widowed; the story of his doomed marriage unfolds throughout the film.

What is Kelvin's line of work?

Kelvin is seen early on mentoring a support group. The topic under discussion seems to be the events of 9/11.

The two men who come to his door are emissaries of what organization?

The corporation that underwrote the mission to Solaris is known as "DBA." We never learn what these letter mean, and they might be a sort of joke: In business, "dba" is short for "doing business as."

Who sent the video message to Kelvin?

Gibarian asks Kelvin to come to Solaris. He implies that something serious or dangerous is going on, but won't explain what that is.

Along with Snow, who is the other surviving crew member on the space station?

Gordon is a physicist, not a medical doctor. When Kelvin first meets her, she won't come out of her room or let him in.

Who does Snow say his replica (of a loved one) was?

Snow says that his replica stopped appearing. He's not being up front, though, about any of this.

Whose blood does Snow say is on the floors and walls?

Later, we're meant to have our doubts about the origin of the blood. But Snow says that Coutard died resisting the DBA security patrol who came to the station.

How did Gibarian die?

Kelvin finds Gibarian in a body bag upon boarding the station. He also finds smears of blood on the floor and walls.

How did Reese die?

The space station had a crew of five: Coutard, Reese, Gibarian, Gordon and Snow. Of these, we never see Reese or Coutard.

Who played Dr. Gordon?

Gordon is the voice of skepticism and reason on the station. Snow, in comparison, speaks every line as though he is deeply stoned.

Who was Gordon's replica?

Gordon might have a difficult relationship with the replica of her family member. She takes definitive action, destroying it as soon as she and Snow devise a way to do so.

What was Kelvin's wife's name?

This is an unusual spelling of "Rhea." It's also an anagram of "Harey," the name of the protagonist's wife in the Polish novel.

What is Rheya carrying on the train?

Kelvin first spots her on a city train, holding the knob in her lap. It turns out they are going to the same party, at the Gibarians.

What art is important to Rheya?

It's implied that Rheya writes poetry as well as reading it. Kelvin encourages her to submit work for publication, which Rheya isn't keen to do.

How did Rheya die (on earth)?

Rheya's suicide came after a bitter fight with Kelvin. She'd had an abortion without telling her husband.

What does Kelvin do with the first Rheya replica?

Kelvin acts decisively for someone who doesn't really understand what's going on. He also seems to master the workings of a space station very quickly, for a psychologist from Chicago.

What upsets the Rheya replica in the meeting of the crew?

Kelvin has kept this information from Rheya. When he becomes angry with Gordon for revealing it, she tells him that it's a mistake to think of the replicas as human.

How does the Rheya replica commit suicide?

Kelvin finds her after waking up alone. She resurrects not long after, as Gordon knew she would.

Why does Gordon say she wants to defeat Solaris and return to Earth?

Gordon represents a common, even stereotyped, version of scientists in science fiction. She sees the interaction with Solaris as a battle or chess match and only wants to "win."

What does Gibarian (or his replica) say about why he committed suicide?

Gibarian appears to Kelvin either as a replica or in a dream. He tells Kelvin that "there are no answers, only choices."

What does Gibarian say when Kelvin asks what Solaris wants?

Gibarian is the one who told Kelvin, at a party, that Solaris "seems to be reacting. It's as if it knows it's being observed."

What does Kelvin find in the ceiling of the space station?

The discovery that their Snow is a replica is extraordinary on several levels. For one, the replica Snow was willing to help come up with the Higgs device, a weapon he knows could kill him. Also, it suggests the blood Kelvin saw early on wasn't Coutard's, but from the knife fight between Snow and his replica.

What side effect does the use of the Higgs device have?

The Snow replica explains this to Gordon and Kelvin. Solaris, having taken on mass, is now pulling everything nearby into itself, including the space station.

What is the name of the shuttlecraft Gordon and Kelvin will use to escape?

The Snow replica suggests that Kelvin and Gordon could escape in the Athena. He doesn't seem concerned about being left behind to be sucked into Solaris, suggesting that the replicas are, in fact, part of the planet.

When he collapses on the space station, who does Kelvin see standing before him?

Kelvin abandons the Athena to stay with or near Rheya, evidently. He calls her name as he stumbles through the hallways, but it's Gibarian's son who shows up to take his hand.

What reveals to Kelvin that he has not, in fact, returned to Earth?

Kelvin cut himself while cooking early in the film. That cut bled, but this one disappears, and then Kelvin sees Rheya in their apartment.

What does Rheya say when Kelvin asks if he's alive or dead?

It's possible that by the movie's end, Kelvin is a replica of himself. Trippy!

Which poem did Rheya (on Earth) have in her hand when she died?

This is the poem Kelvin tries to quote to Rheya on the night they meet. He actually only cites the title; he's not a poetry guy.

Who wrote the screenplay and directed "Solaris"?

Soderbergh wore many hats on the film. He was its editor and cinematographer, both under assumed names.

Which actor was Soderbergh's first choice to play Kelvin?

Day-Lewis was working on "Gangs of New York" at the time. Clooney lobbied Soderbergh for the role, and won it.

Kelvin shared his last name with a scientist best known for what?

William Thomson was known as Lord Kelvin, who determined the value of absolute zero as -460 Fahrenheit. Writer Soderbergh's interest in scientific discovery turns up in little things like this, as well as in the larger themes of his projects "Contagion" and "The Knick."

Who played Rheya?

Sadly, McElhone appeared in two of the three 2002 movies to get an "F" rating on CinemaScore. The other was "Feardotcom."

Actor Jeremy Davies, who played Snow, resembles and has played which famous killer?

Davies played Manson in a film version of "Helter Skelter." (Bonus points if you knew no one knows what Jack the Ripper looks like!)

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