Steven’s Science In Cinema: Osmosis Jones (2001)

osmosis jones

Showing movies in class to replace a lecture has always been a student’s dream, and it never hurts for the teacher to show it if the movie is an educational one. In biology classrooms, in the twenty-first century the go-to movie for biology teachers has been Osmosis Jones (2001), directed by Bobby Farrelly, Peter Farrelly,  and Tom Sito. I even remember watching this film at least three times throughout my whole education. It is a great, reminiscent and iconic movie. For me, this movie will always be closely intertwined with biology. Sadly, some of the biology in this film is inaccurate. However, there are plenty of times when a scientific concept is correctly used subtlety in this film.

The antagonist of this film is named “Thrax” which stems from the pathogen anthrax (Bacillus anthracis). Thrax is a pathogen that invades Frank, a medically ignorant human that acts as the setting for most of the movie as it takes place in his body.  The identity of the pathogen that Thrax is, was never identified. The two best theories are anthrax or scarlet fever, but both of these illnesses are bacterial and Thrax was identified to be a virus. The protagonist in this film is Osmosis Jones who is a white blood cell in Frank’s body and can be assumed to be a neutrophil. This is because neutrophils can circulate throughout most of the body and eliminate any foreign microbes at the site of infection, which is Osmosis Jones’ job throughout the film.

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