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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Flight is an excellent, albeit mature, drama about an alcoholic airline pilot and the investigation surrounding a plane crash he was involved in. The crash sequence itself is realistic and harrowing, with injuries and wounds. Drinking and drugs are also big issues, as the main character is an alcoholic who frequently binges (sometimes resulting in arguing and/or injuries, some with blood), and a secondary character is a drug addict. There's also a nude scene early in the movie, when the main character wakes up in a hotel room with a girlfriend, and language is strong, with uses of "f--k" and "s--t." Director Robert Zemeckis also made the ultra-popular Forrest Gump, but Flight is more intense in some ways and less age appropriate for younger teens.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Faced with a malfunctioning plane, commercial airline pilot Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington) pulls off a spectacular crash landing that saves nearly all the lives on board. Unfortunately, during the subsequent investigation, it becomes apparent that he was drunk while flying. Worse, he abuses alcohol regularly. In the hospital, Whip meets recovering drug addict Nicole (Kelly Reilly) and decides to help her out. In the days leading up to a hearing that could cost Whip his job, he tries to stop drinking, but with all the pressure, he finds the urge too strong. Even with all the people in his life trying to help, it all comes down to Whip, who must decide for himself which path to take.
Is it any good?
After too many years of gimmick- and special effects-based movies, with FLIGHT, director Robert Zemeckis once again finds the perfect balance between characters and spectacle. (He achieved this in his best films, Back to the Future and Who Framed Roger Rabbit.) This is also easily the most mature movie of his career. A slightly less talented director would have focused on the heavy issue of alcoholism, but Zemeckis instead uses the suspense of the impending hearing, as well as rich characters and performances (John Goodman is a particular standout). The balance makes for a far more effective and appealing film.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Flight depicts drinking. Why does Whip drink so much? What are the results of his drinking? What consequences does he face? Do they seem realistic?
Why doesn't Whip accept any help from anyone? How can you help a loved one who might be an alcoholic/addict?
How did the violent plane crash sequence affect you? Was it too over-the-top, or did it seem to fit the story? How does a scene like that compare to something in a big-budget action movie? Which has more impact? Why?
- In theaters: November 2, 2012
- On DVD or streaming: February 5, 2013
- Cast: Denzel Washington, Don Cheadle, Kelly Reilly
- Director: Robert Zemeckis
- Studio: Paramount Pictures
- Genre: Drama
- Run time: 138 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: drug and alcohol abuse, language, sexuality/nudity and an intense action sequence
For kids who love dramas
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.