At the end of Gattaca, the dialog is pretty clear that Dr. Lamar, who does all the urine-based genetic verification, has a son who admires Vincent's persona as Jerome and that clearly is the reason he does nothing to stop Vincent; indeed, he urges him to board his flight: a dream come true for all of them.

However, when Vincent first adopts Jerome's identity and "interviews" (a standard genetic test) with Gattaca Corporation, it is with Dr. Lamar who probably is not aware of the deception. But in their seemingly daily interaction of "Jerome" peeing a sample for the doctor, at some point the doctor becomes aware that Jerome is a fraud, but never says a thing. It isn't until the surprise genetic test seconds before boarding the rocket that the doctor says "For future reference, right-handed men don't hold it with their left."

It seems implicit that those enforcing genetic purity would view Vincent as a criminal. But certainly Irene (Uma Thurman) abandons such thinking by the end of the story. Why does the Doctor?

Perhaps this hints that many (maybe everyone) in this genome-driven world are sick of the science-enhanced discrimination? Especially those apparently in charge of enforcement. If so, then who is really fostering and promoting the discrimination?


8 Answers 8


In the fullness of that scene at the end, Dr. Lamar asks Vincent if he'd ever told Vincent the story of his son. This is something that Lamar has asked Vincent many times, without ever telling Vincent the story. It is only at the final test that the doctor tells Vincent that his son admires him (Vincent) and wants to be an astronaut despite a genetic defect that will bar him from doing so. So basically, the doctor's son is exactly in the same predicament as Vincent. This is why the doctor does what does. You mention Irene, who has a heart defect that limits what missions she will be picked for.

So, I don't know that either of those hint that "many" in their society are "sick" of the discrimination. I'm sure that the people who are affected by it in some way are. So who is "fostering and promoting" the discrimination? The same people who always do (often by inaction or ignorance of the situation) - the ones who are not affected by it.

  • 1
    Dr. Lamar's son admires "Jerome" because Lamar told him about "Jerome" being an invalid. Lamar knows his son will never be able to achieve his dream himself, but at least he can have a hero in Vincent. Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 0:11

Doctor Lamar is not Vincent's father, here is why: Anton says to Vincent "Our parents died thinking you have survived.". With both parents dead, Dr. Lamar could not be Vincent's father. However, the last test scene implies that Doctor Lamar has a son who dreams of being an astronaut, despite a genetic that prevent him to be one, leading to Dr Lamar empathy towards Vincent, an invalid.

The question remaining is: does Dr. Lamar render Vincent's DNA valid as Jerome Morrow, by pressing the button that switches the file on screen from Vincent's invalid status to Jerome Morrow valid status.

  • Dr. Lamar was testing everyone at Gattaca. He must have realized well before Vincent got to the front of the line that there'd be an issue, and prepared accordingly, but it was his only chance for him to tell Vincent how he felt, so he made the actual switch in front of him. Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 0:03
  • Also, Lamar probably wanted to know who "Jerome" really was before he left, so he took a peek before changing the test results. Commented Jun 28, 2016 at 0:12

Jerome is a swimming star from Great Britain. Why isn't it plausible to see that Lamar's son follows swimming and so knows of the real Jerome/Eugene - a name the doctor would realise through the normal discourse of having a child who follows intently, a professional level sport.

It stands, then, to reason that the doctor always knew - and felt it appropriate to let him know so at the end when he knew it was a 'new policy' to test before a flight and as such, Vincent/Jerome wouldn't have come prepared.

Further, Lamar mentions 'who knows what he could do', clearly referencing the ability for his son to pass as a 'borrowed ladder' in the same way that Vincent had.

--remember, the son doesn't admire Vincent but Jerome (Jude Law - the name Vincent is using). Lamar would come to know of Vincent's true identity and thus real name as a natural course of regular testing - whereupon he quietly takes it upon himself to help further maintain the guise under which he operating.


I thought Lamar was Jerome Morrow's father. The only reason I question that Lamar is not Jerome's father is that Lamar speaks with an American accent and Jerome with a British accent. And there's nothing in the movie which suggests why this would be.

However, what makes me believe that Lamar is Jerome's father is the following:

  1. In one of the earlier encounters between Vincent and Lamar, Lamar says something about how he should tell Vincent about his son. This is an unusual thing for a doctor to say to a patient he doesn't know very well, and I guess in the context of the world in which Gattaca is set, this would be strange and yet Lamar feels that he needs to tell Vincent about his son. There has to be a reason for this and my suggestion is that Lamar knew something at this stage about Vincent - in fact, I think he already knew, and how and why I will explain later.

  2. Lamar says that his son admires Vincent. Why would this be in the plot if this son remains completely anonymous? I believe this son of Lamar who admires Vincent is Jerome because after Jerome and Vincent go out and get drunk, when they return and Vincent is trying to put Jerome on the bed, Jerome says to Vincent "I'm really proud of you, Vincent" and I think this is the key to realising that this son of Lamar who admires Vincent is Jerome. Also, what I thought was significant was that Vincent says to Jerome, "You must be drunk to call me Vincent." The real significance here is not that Jerome calls Vincent by his real name but that Jerome, while drunk, spoke what was in his heart, that is, his admiration for Vincent.

  3. Lamar tells Vincent that "for future reference, right-handed men don't hold it with their left. It's just one of those things". How did Lamar know that the real Jerome Morrow was right-handed if he had always thought Vincent was Jerome and Lamar had always noticed that Vincent was left-handed as the above quote reveals. This suggests that Lamar always knew that the real Jerome was right-handed and he could only have known this if he had known Jerome - and further if the real Jerome was in fact his son. The fact that Lamar makes the comment about Vincent's left-handedness takes us back to when Vincent is trying to copy Jerome's signature and he says something like "trust you to be right-handed". It's true that the majority of people are right-handed but the only person we really know for sure is right-handed is Jerome and I think this was put in the movie to flag this connection later on.

  4. Jerome was supposed to have all the genes that enabled him to get into Gattaca. However, he never made it in. But Vincent did. Why was it that Jerome couldn't make it? Because when Jerome and Vincent are out drinking, when Vincent tells Jerome that Jerome should be the one going up into space and not Vincent, Jerome confesses to Vincent that he is afraid of heights. This is his weakness which prevents him from getting into Gattaca. What is suggested here is that acrophobia is not a genetic disposition. Jerome was genetically engineered and phobias like acrophobia are not considered something that is inherent in our genes (or, at least, I have never heard of phobias being a genetic disposition). This is hinted at because at the end of the movie, before Vincent gives Lamar his real urine before the launch, Lamar says to Vincent that his son "wants to apply here [at Gattace]...Unfortunately, my son's not all that they promised". Notice the wording. There is nothing that suggests that Lamar's son had a failing because of his genes. In fact, it sounds as if it has come home to Lamar that parents can go to the geneticist to ensure their child has all the right genes (as Vincent narrates right at the beginning of the movie about Jerome before he admits that he in fact is not Jerome) and yet the rude awakening to Lamar is that "failings" in a person's humanity can actually occur from other factors beyond our genes, in this case, Jerome's fear of heights, hence why Jerome was not all that "they" promised. And who is this "they"? I think Lamar means the geneticists at the time Lamar and his wife chose the best "human potential" that later became their son. So, although Jerome had all the right genes to enable him to get into Gattaca, he had one failing that could not be linked to his genetic makeup (and hence a further poignant point to illustrate that our genes don't determine everything about our humanity). I understand that this is what Lamar was trying to say at the end of the movie about his son's set back. This is further accentuated when Jerome explains to Vincent about the silver medal and how Jerome was never meant to be second best. I can only guess that when he tried to get into Gattaca, he came out second best, that is, was rejected. I assume this based on the type of regimes prospective astronauts go through to test their stamina for space flight and therefore I guess that when Jerome had to do a test which included going to great heights, he refused to do so out of fear and hence this led to his rejection.

So, if Jerome was Lamar's son, I believe Lamar knew Vincent was imposing as Lamar's son right at the beginning. This is because, when Vincent had his "interview" and Lamar put the urine sample into the machine which revealed the true identity of the owner of the urine sample, Lamar had to know right from the beginning that Vincent was not Jerome Morrow - unless Lamar had not seen his son for many years and hence would not have been able to recognise him. But this is not suggested in the movie. Rather, the fact that Lamar tells Vincent that his son "admires" him suggests that this is a recent conversation between father and son, and hence possibly that Jerome had already given his father a tip off that someone else was going to be using his identity which would explain why Lamar was not surprised to discover that Vincent had Jerome's identity at that first interview. This then also explains why Lamar talks about his son and his son's admiration for Vincent right at the beginning and hence why it was not a surprise for Lamar to discover at the end that Vincent was in fact an In-Valid and yet Lamar was able to change the screen back to Jerome's particulars. This suggests that Lamar knew all along that Vincent was using Jerome's identity and hence had the capabilities to have an "ace up his sleeve" to revert the machine back to Jerome's identity should Vincent be in a compromising position. There is also the suggestion of collaboration between father and son, that is, that Jerome had told his father earlier on that Vincent was going to use his identity and hence wanted his father to do all he could to protect Vincent, not for Vincent's sake but for Jerome's. In other words, the motive behind Lamar doing what he did for Vincent was not because of Vincent but because Lamar loved his son, Jerome, and therefore assisted Jerome in fulfilling his dream through Vincent.

  • Nice, well thought out exposition. Now I need to see the movie again to look for the particulars you mention....
    – wallyk
    Commented Aug 16, 2016 at 15:15
  • Re #3: I always thought it was that his profile was showing left/right handedness based on genetics. It’s not something that is normally explicitly collected on a form but could easily be extracted as a probability from the DNA. Commented Mar 15, 2022 at 18:35

This is my favorite movie of all time. It bugs me incredibly that so many who also enjoyed this movie don't grasp the beauty of this scene.

Dr. Lamar is not Vincent's father. (Why on earth would they change the actors?)

This scene is perfect because it shows Dr. Lamar has always known about Vincent's deception. His kid was a modified birth but yet there were still complications that prohibited him from being an astronaut. The kid isn't a fan of Jerome the swimmer. He's a fan of the man Dr. Lamar told him about—Vincent, the invalid.

Dr. Lamar's empathy is what led him to permanently alter Vincent's DNA profile in the systems so he never has to deal with these tests.


Perhaps Lamar is his in fact his Father. The socioeconomic status of the family at the start in the dinning room scene suggests they are not well-to-do. Further, the genetic integrity laws must be quite strict to allow Vincent to go past the tests. Why does he ask "... have I told you about my son." Seems odd to go about it in this personal manner, especially for a clinical scientist. However, this is possibly a less plausible case than suggested by others here, as even with alterations, it doesn't look much like his Dad. Would be cool though, and possibly the kind of luck that it would take to slip though at GATTACA... makes it more poignant regarding the absurdity of genetic screening and the "brave new world"?


I too thought that it could be his father. There is the scene where the brother says our parents passed thinking they outlived you, but there are several explanations for this. Perhaps the cop son was lying. Perhaps he too moved out and his parents feeling remorse over how they raised their eldest son cut ties with the younger engineeed son and simply lied to him about their death. Anything is possible in a Sci-fi movie.

Making Lamar the father would have made the movie so much more poignant and would have brought closure and catharsis to a wrong perpetrated out of society pressure.

  • Hi, welcome to Movies & TV! Is there any chance you could provide some more details, citation, and/or visual evidence for your theories? Generally on this site, we encourage people to show that they've done their research (in whatever fashion) for an answer. I think cde's answer to my question about "The Nightmare Before Christmas" is a very good example of a somewhat simple answer that still shows good research: movies.stackexchange.com/a/42274/22599
    – ghostdog
    Commented Oct 17, 2015 at 1:24

I have honestly thought that Lamar is Jerome's dad, the real Jerome. Although I like a lot of peoples' answers. I only came on here to see if anyone else thought the same thing I do. The part at the end where Jerome tells Vincent that he lent him his dream. And clearly Jerome looks up to Vincent for being able to do the impossible. It's also sad that he realized that Vincent makes a better Jerome and he puts on his second place medal and succeeds in killing himself this time. So I truly feel that Lamar is Jerome's dad.

I feel that Lamar goes on with Vincent's deception because he knows who the real Jerome is...(his son) and he feels like his son is doing something good with his life by lending it to Vincent to fulfill his dream. I think anyone who had Jerome's genes wouldn't want to kill themselves, but for whatever reason he didn't want to live. So I believe Lamar feels Vincent is making a positive impact on Jerome so he says nothing and continues with Vincent's deception.


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