Stowaway is a tale about making sacrifices for the common good, and Anna Kendrick’s character suffers as a result. Zoe remembers joining the program as a joke to watch herself get rejected at the start of the film. As the film nears its conclusion, she recognizes that it has helped her to “truly offer life meaning” in ways she could never have imagined.
Although sci-fi fans may have expected the film to devolve into a bloodbath between astronauts battling for their own right to live, Stowaway’s conclusion is focused on the best interests of the entire crew. It’s a tragic ending, but it’s also one that emphasizes a community’s decision rather than human nature’s selfishness.
Let’s take a step back now. How did the film’s Stowaway dilemma come about? Basically, the crew discovered Michael in a compartment not long after launch. He’d been trapped there by accident since before the launch, and no one had noticed. Toni Collette’s Marina manages to break his fall after his fall from the compartment, but it damages the ship’s life support systems in a way that cannot be fixed.